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.

 

Nature’s Spring Ritual

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All Things Fulfilling

“Daffodils,” an image by artist Nancy Guzik is a promise of spring that I look to so often throughout the winter. As we transition into warmer days and brighter colors nature heralds in her ritual of budding and blossoming flowers displaying “an adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday life.” Akin to how people describe the Japanese ceremony of tea making.

I’m fortunate. I don’t have to look beyond the walls of my home to see Guzik’s beautiful image, and although I don’t own the original painting, the fine art lithograph has given me as much pleasure over the years.

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Guzik says of art “Somewhere within all of us we long for a certain truth, each searching in our own way, possibly to know and feel who we are and why we are here on earth. At times there is a yearning to express that. Perhaps that is…

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Out of This World Art Launch

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Happy New Year, Everybody!! Today I will be sharing some very exciting news about two artists whose work I am proud to say fulfills me every day because many of their published art prints hang on the walls of my living space…

Last week as I read the blog My Life with the Masters, I thought “Jumpin’ Jupiter! This news is out of this world!”  American artists Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik have made history and literally brought science and art together when their paintings were launched into space and are now rotating the Earth at phenomenal speed.

According to the article written by Kristen Thies, “This art/science journey initially began when James Nadir, a Silicon Valley engineer who retired from Intel invited Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik to create 1.25” x 1.25” paintings to be placed into a small space capsule aboard the International Space Station.”  To read the full article, please visit My Life with the Masters.

If you are not familiar with these artists, Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik, learn more through their bios. I came to know this husband and wife team of master artists back in 1998 through the beginnings of an independent publishing venture, Stove Prairie Press, LLC. Much of my knowledge about the industry can be attributed to these pioneering artists whose work has reached new heights in this New Year! Congratulations, Richard & Nancy!!

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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 and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

See you back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday, January 4th!

 

 

Exploration Leads to Discovery

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“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

I walked into Exclusive Collections, an art gallery on Main Street in Breckenridge, Colorado expecting to see the usual – local photography, paintings of mountain landscapes, silver jewelry, pottery and the like. Wrong!

Very exclusive art decorated the walls, including these images which you will recognize immediately. Only 30 very select galleries across the country are given permission to handle this art. I’d like to thank Jon Peroutka, Assistant Gallery Director for allowing me to take photos for All Things Fulfilling and also for sharing his vast knowledge of the artists.seuss 1

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Among Dr. Seuss art were works from other seldom seen artists, whose work is so highly regarded due to the privileged art collectors who desire their work.  Daniel Merriam a master surrealist whom I was familiar with from Chalk Farm Gallery in Santa Fe, sculpture artist Angela Mia De La Vega, Daniel Ryan, and Ascenio are all represented by this Breckenridge Gallery. Tuan, a sculpture artist whose work is in the permanent collection of the White House was also among them. If you are not acquainted with these artists, take a look at their websites and their C.V’s. Very impressive!

This winter larger shows of Dr. Seuss art and sculpture artist Angela Mia De La Vega will be exhibited. Keep your eye on Exclusive Collections website for the exact dates.

Just as inspiring are the philanthropic interests of Exclusive Collections who also have other galleries in five other cities – Las Vegas (Caesar’s Palace), Laguna Beach, California, San Diego and Beverly Hills.

I ended my lovely day in “Breck” with a delicious burger at Blue Stag Saloon. I was taken by surprise when the waiter appeared with the bill inside the covers of a paperback book, published in the 1970s. A creative presentation and a perfect ending to a great day trip.

As you can see from yesterday’s pictures, snow has already arrived in the upper elevations of Colorado!

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

 

 

Nature’s Spring Ritual

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“Daffodils,” an image by artist Nancy Guzik is a promise of spring that I look to so often throughout the winter. As we transition into warmer days and brighter colors nature heralds in her ritual of budding and blossoming flowers displaying “an adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday life.” Akin to how people describe the Japanese ceremony of tea making.

I’m fortunate. I don’t have to look beyond the walls of my home to see Guzik’s beautiful image, and although I don’t own the original painting, the fine art lithograph has given me as much pleasure over the years.

daffodils 2

Guzik says of art “Somewhere within all of us we long for a certain truth, each searching in our own way, possibly to know and feel who we are and why we are here on earth. At times there is a yearning to express that. Perhaps that is why I paint.”

As we move another day into the season of rebirth, I know as my truth that one of the best reasons to be on this earth is to witness the season of miraculous renewal in nature. Happy Spring and “bloom where you are planted!”

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.

 

The Writing Life

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How many times have we heard a person say “I am a writer.”

“What are you writing?” is the natural lead up question.

“Nothing, right now.” A valid response. At that present moment that person is not penning anything. They are communicating verbally – with you. True?

If you’re an artist in any medium and have a real passion for something, practice is never ending. The most successful people in this country’s history were not made overnight. Malcolm Gladwell shares his insight on the 10,000 hour principle.

Even if you’ve gone to school to learn a craft, the education is not over! The process of perfecting a craft is lifelong. Ask any artist who has risen to the top of their field – creating is on-going, never ending. I look at master painter Richard Schmid, one of the most celebrated artists in the country. He paints constantly even though he has been painting an entire lifetime and recently blew out the candles on his 80th birthday cake!

As an author, even though I recently published two books,  I feel as if my work has just begun. I literally work at it every day through blogging and then….there are my other writing projects.

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