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)

Many Beautiful Things Coming!

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Believe in the darkness what you have seen in the light. ~ Lilias Trotter

Now, here’s a movie I can really get behind. Many Beautiful Things has just been put on my Must See Movies List. And best of all, Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crowley) of Downtown Abbey fame is starring in it.

This movie is based on the life of artist Lilias Trotter and the setting is Victorian England. The storyline involves art, dreams, talent and true callings.  Wants verses desires, and conflict between lady vs. herself are all in this heart-stirring movie. All things good stories are  made of!

According to the website, this movie began premiering in national theatres February 6 -14. If it doesn’t come to your local theatre, a DVD of this movie will be released in time for International Women’s Day. Shop on the movie website for it along with these other products:  Lilia’s Trotter’s 1876 Sketchbook and 1889 Sketchbook and a children’s book Lily: The Girl Who Could See or Parables of the Cross. Why not put them all in  your shopping cart?

Here’s the trailer which will give you a little insight into this movie that looks very promising for a very fulfilling evening of entertainment!

See you tomorrow! We will see what other beautiful or good news we can dig up. This  blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Afterglow of Success

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Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” -Francis of Assisi

The last of a three part blog about author/playright Jorge Avila will be featured on All Things Fulfilling today. Before Christmas I interviewed Avila about his newfound sucess as a playright. To read the beginning of the interview, please go to from Local Author to Playright and Advancing the Story.

Sue: So what does it feel like now that you have stepped away from all the excitement of seeing your musical played out on stage?

Jorge: There is a little bit of sadness and a let down because it is easy to get carried  away with all that goes with on in the world of L.A.  But we aren’t done yet. My vision for this musical is even more than that.  I have been offered a huge opportunity at the end of September and the first two weeks in October. The production will return to California as part of at the Hispanic Heritage Festival. For four weeks, in four different districts, I am told that 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 people will attend the festival annually. Do you believe that?

Sue: And I understand you received special recognition during the three day run of the musical. What night was that?

Jorge: On the  middle night of the performance, I and the director and musical composer, Caleb Encampos, were each given certificates of award from the City of Los Angeles for work in advancing the arts. It was very exciting.

Avilas certificate from City of LA

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Sue: What can you attribute to the success that you have had with Maricopa Men in Pink?

Jorge: It was a long five years but I never stopped believing that I had a quality product and it was a matter of getting it into the right venue or environment.

Sue: What’s on the docket for the future? 

Jorge: I have two more musicals I am working on and a book but, I would like to do something more with the local high school here in Steamboat. They did a Powerpoint presentation about my book’s storyline with the English as a Second Language (ESL) students. I’d like to put together some sort of workshop. We will see, I’ll have to put more thought into that. And I’d like to take the musical to Chicago. That’s where I’d  really like to see it.

Sue: You have been in a whirlwind for six months or more. Perhaps with a little time off, your visions will become more clear. Now that you have stepped away into a quieter environment, here in Steamboat, you can ponder it.

Before Jorge and I said our goodbyes  I told him how he is a shining example for other independent publishers to press on and not to give up. Although he mentioned feeling a little let down now that things were over, I saw a huge afterglow of success on his face and in his exuberant voice.

Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow when we begin the countdown till the New Year! We will be fulfilling 2016 with new possibilities and opportunity!

Advancing the Story

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We need to look hard at the stories we create, and wrestle with them. Retell and retell them, and work with them like clay. It is in the retelling and returning that they give us their wisdom.Marni Gillard

Avila and wife MaribelLast week I sat down with author and playright Jorge Avila, a member of We Write Steamboat, to discuss the gigantic leap of success that he has just experienced. To read a short summary of his musical, please go to the blog from last Thursday.

(Photo left: Jorge Avila and his wife Maribel)

Jorge had just returned a week previously to his hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado from a very busy six months in California. His live theatre musical, adapted from his book Maricopa Men in Pink had a three day run at the Plaza de la Raza, Cultural Center for the Arts & Education on Mission Road in Los Angeles. Avila was ebullient as he answered the questions I had for him to learn more about his experience. Here is part of our discussion about going from local author to playright in a very short few years:

Sue: Jorge, when was Maricopa Men in Pink published? 

Jorge: In 2010 it was published. A short time afterward I sent it off to a friend who is a stage designer in L.A. to get his opinion. He reviewed it and gave me some feedback about adapting it for a play. I decided that my vision for the work was a live theatre musical production. So I rewrote it exactly 2 years, nine months ago in script format along with song lyrics. Caleb Encompos, a resident who helps with the music program at the Christian Center here in Steamboat, composed the music to accompany the lyrics. I approached the Chief Theatre here in town, but it didn’t seem to be the right venue. So,then we sent it off to three production companies in California. 

Sue:  So, what was the response? 

Jorge: I’d like to say that there have been few  Latino or controversial political musicals that I am aware of other than In the Heights and Hamilton and the Book of Mormon. So I was happy to even get a response and it was positive response from two of them. I chose one of the production companies that I felt best understood my vision. I was offered a small sum of money from the production company, but I took half of that because I wanted to be directly involved in the entire process, so that the final product would be what I envisioned.

So, I began over the next six months going to L.A. one week out of every month. For the next six months, Caleb Encompos and I chose vocalists and actors for the live musical production. Once we heard my lyrics put to music and saw it performed by the actors we had chosen, there were some tweeks that were made before the opening.

Sue: So, tell me about the three night run.

Jorge: The turnout was outstanding compared to what I had anticipated. I was told for an unknown author/playright, typical sales would be 60% of the seats. The first and third nights we had 95% of all tickets sold, and the middle evening 75%. Surprising, considering I read in a New York Times article that out of 318 million Americans, 58 million agreed with Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s handling of inmates in Tent City Jail in Arizona. Seventy eight million disagreed, and the whole rest of the population knew nothing about the news story.

Sue: How did that feel? To see your musical come before live audience like that?

Jorge: Surreal! I feel flattered and proud but it was very stressful. I even started up a bad habit – smoking. I hadn’t smoked in six years and I ate too much and gained a little weight.

The musical was even mentioned on National TV on Spanish stations. While we were waiting for the production to begin on opening night, I stepped outside and there were 120 people in line to get a ticket – to my show! I couldn’t believe it and I counted every one of them!

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The rest of this interview on All Things Fulfilling will be posted the week after Christmas. Do return because we will be talking about Avila’s rewards in terms of personal fulfillment which were a result of his determination, persistance and his belief that what he had was fitting for a quality live musical production that still has great potential for future audiences. We will be sharing more about his special award from the City of Los Angeles also!

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

 

A Window into Breck

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“Art is the window into one’s soul.” ~ Lady Bird Johnson

After yesterday’s blog, you baby boomers are probably thinking Breck refers to the old school shampoo we used when we were our teens in the 1960s. Remember using that? I thought if I used it, I’d look just like the “Breck Girl.”

No, for the next few days I will be blogging about a one day road trip I took to Breckenridge, Colorado, often referred to as “Breck.”  I found all kinds of fulfilling things to write about including a creative arts organization called BreckCreate. There is so much to tell, it can not be covered in just one blog posting.

The Breckenridge Arts District is a series of historic buildings located on an acre of land right up the hill from Main Street. It has become  an epicenter of creativity offering art classes, workshops, performance arts, exhibits and special artist-in-residence visits. I’d like to share some pictures with you of the district:

 

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Below: The Barney Ford Museum is also in the arts district. Barney Ford was a local entrepreneur who escaped slavery and became a man of extreme prosperity. For more information.

Barney ford museum

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A clan of visiting Aztec’s danced a spirit dance historically significant to their culture and the celebration of life the day I visited the town. Read more about the performance.

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indians 4 Art, culture, history and architecture holds a prominent place in the community of Breckenridge, Colorado. The scenic backdrop to the town, as it is in many Colorado communities, is stunning!

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. I have more to share with you about BreckCreate.

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

Thou Art Grateful

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Happy National Arts and Humanities Month! I believe that my life is enriched in great measure by the opportunities that I have to incorporate the arts and humanities into my lifestyle. As a blog writer for All Things Fulfilling, which focuses on arts and the humanities, I take great pleasuring in sharing information with like-minded people. Let me count just a few other activities and events related to art, culture and religion that also bring me personal fulfillment:

  • Volunteering at Strings Music Festival
  • Visiting museums
  • Worshiping in a supportive spiritual environment
  • Incorporating local artisans work to my into my home environment
  • Attending the writers groups and workshops
  • Having a wonderful community library where there is ALWAYS something of interest happening.
  • Participating in community “Art Walks” to see local artists work
  • We Write Steamboat –  networking with other independent publishers to foster success
  • Book talks and presentations
  • Taking advantage of educational opportunity to obtain more knowledge about the literary arts and other art mediums.

I am a proponent of Americans for the Arts. Involvement at the local level is a great way to show how you, too, enjoy cultural events that are available. Our world would be very different without music, art, museums, libraries, places of worship, concert halls.

Get involved and learn how art  enhances life!

The more we learn and grow and evolve as individuals, the more we will find happiness and satisfaction in relationships, work and life.”
Kristi Bowman

Mr. Rockwell’s Narratives

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How will I be remembered? As a technician or artist? As a humorist or a visionary? ~Norman Rockwell

Last week, my television was tuned in more than usual. I was interested in watching the Pope speak at the various different venues. It was such a privilege for the American people to have someone of his stature visit our country.
Did you see the photo op taken at the United Nations in front of the Norman Rockwell image called “Golden Rule?” The U.N. is a very appropriate place to have the image hanging because it could not be more symbolic of America’s melting pot of citizens.  On All Things Fulfilling we featured a blog about Rockwell’s “Golden Rule” back in September 2013. It was a very well read article. Go back and read it if you missed it.

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On Friday, the same day the Pope appeared at the United Nations, I came across an interesting article from the Berkshire Eagle about the Norman Rockwell Museum. Some changes are about to take place in the way that the artist’s work will be exhibited. The images will be thematically organized to better tell the story of America. It’s a terrific idea in my opinion! If ever there was an artist whose work tells a narrative, it is Mr. Rockwell’s!

The last time I visited the Rockwell collection was about 25 years ago when it was housed in an old church in Arlington, Vermont. I enjoyed seeing each of the iconic Americana images, however, the lighting and organization of the paintings did not do it justice. Now there is a beautiful structure in Stockbridge, Massachusetts housing the entire collection with a skilled curator at the helm. If you are ever in the area do not miss it! Check out the information on the museum.

This blog is brought to you by the 2014 EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories, Lessons of Heart & Soul.