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.

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…

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Community of Blessings

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Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world… It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.”
Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

Last summer I mentioned to my mother and sister the fact that the harvest season does not seem to be as decorated in the West as in the East. “Perhaps that’s because Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, the place of the landing of the Pilgrims, is geographically closer, so the season of fall is more celebrated. But, I really don’t know what it is,” I admitted.

On Sunday I arrived at the doors of my church and found it beautifully decorated for the fall season. The blessings of community and sermons of life lessons, relevant to today’s world, are always inside these church doors.

IMG_20151011_084245_836 Reflections last week from the Rev. Tim Selby included the question “And How Are the Children?”  Unfortunately in this day and age with all of the incidents in schools we can’t confidently answer “All are safely gathered in.”IMG_20151011_084455_846

By the end of the sermon each and everyone of us hoped our prayers would be heard as we sang the closing hymn “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

If you wish to hear the words of the message, keep your eye on the church website where recordings of each Sunday’s lessons are always posted.

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

Cultivating Interests

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The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it.

Sitting and reading a book of history has never been my cup of tea. But visiting the space where history took place is a different story. It brings an historical era alive.

This summer I revisited a place that I never tire of -Ladew Gardens in “hunt country” of Monkton, Maryland. Home to the first American to create garden rooms, Henry S. Ladew,( 1887 – 1976) his creative garden spirit is still alive. To read more about the life of Henry S Ladew and his stunning gardens, see this publication.

Beautiful topiaries, strategically-placed antique garden hardscape,beautiful ponds and fountains make the place a real sanctuary for gardeners and non-gardeners alike who have a fine appreciation of beautiful spaces in nature. New to the property since my last visit is a butterfly pavilion which is manned by volunteers who explain the process from caterpillar to  chrysalis to hatching of butterflies and their purpose in nature. To read more about this natural phenomenon, visit this article.

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The Garden Cafe, Ladew’s residence, art studio and library are open to the public. The spaces are where educational, scientific and cultural pursuits flourish for the public benefit. On Sept 27th at 10pm CNN will feature a story about these historic gardens on Mike Rowe’s show called “Dirty Jobs.”IMG_20150908_114020_578

As a garden enthusiast, my visit to Ladew was as fulfilling as the first time I walked the 22 acres of grounds.

IMG_20150908_113427_260This blog is brought to you by the EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

World-Class Rural Virginia Artist

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The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep. ~ Paul Strand

“Gee, I thought the place would be more ostentacious than this given the artists’ reputation,” I thought as we drove up and parked outside the gallery of internationally known sculpture artists William H Turner and his son David H Turner on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake in northern Virginia. However, inside the father and son’s work was exhibited in abundance. The 4,000 square feet of gallery space made for great browsing. I didn’t realize until later that a foundry, metal shops, a wood shop, wax shop, mold room and storage in nine separate buildings were also on site. The Turner’s have the assistance of 20 skilled artisans they supervise throughout the multi-step process.

Their limited edition sculpture includes more than 400 designs. Birds of prey, game birds, deer and other American wildlife and animals seen on safari are among them. Smaller pieces include rodents, frogs, turtles, fish and other marine life. More than 100 public installations of Turner Sculpture are located on some of the finest college campuses, in aquariums, nature conservancies, zoos, museums and botanic gardens throughout the country. The father and son have even presented a piece of their art to President George Bush, Sr. at The White House.

heron signed

duck signed

rams head signed

bass fish signed

As I perused the gallery, I got a very real sense of the importance of passing along the craft of sculpture making to younger generations of Turners as well as an appreciation for other mediums of art. One display space was dedicated to cast sculptures that grandchildren had created. A large number of canvases painted by various family members hang throughout the gallery space.

children turner signed

Writing and independent publishing is just another aspect of William H Turner’s talents. His rural farm-boy voice is prevalent throughout his book Memoirs of a Farm Boy as well as in the Turner Sculpture “Tracks” newsletter. Stories such as Mrs. Chrysler and the Pickle Barrel, which is excerpted in one of the newsletters, is a charming recounting of his artist/client relationship with a wealthy woman and her appreciation of his work. His books also include East of the Chesapeake and Of An Evening.

turner books signed

For a farm boy from Virginia, born in 1935, many roads have been traveled and explored to reach the notable status that the father and son enjoy together as world class sculpture artists.  William H. Turner’s life after college began as a dentist.

Vaarious signed

pheasant signed

pelican in progress signed

It was a privilege to speak with  William H. Turner, Sr. in person and he told me that many of their sculptures are permanently exhibited at the Benson Sculpture Gardens in Loveland, Colorado.

And I was taken by great surprise when I saw the work of artist Wick Ahrens in the gallery. I was familiar with his whale sculptures, as he resided in Peru, Vermont for decades. Peru is the town right next to my thirty-year place of residence in Bondville.

boy on stilts signed

My favorite piece was from their childhood memories collection “A Boy on Stilts.” I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to  Turner Sculpture and was so very impressed with their craftsmanship and skilled artistry.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. Check in on us on Monday on All Things Fulfilling!

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.

 

O’Keefe in Everyday Life

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“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”  ― Georgia O’Keeffe

I’d always been interested in the art of Georgia O’Keefe. Any artist who paints flowers so magnificently, is alright by me!

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, NM. The art was beautiful, as expected but, what I enjoyed seeing, through black and white photos, was the life of this woman outside of her studio. According to a short film I watched and from reading other literature, O’Keefe found much pleasure in simple tasks of daily living. Images of O’Keefe walking her dogs, hanging out the wash, sitting on the roof of her adobe house and cooking outside over an open fire all acquainted me with her on another level.

She painted much more than flowers. She lived, painted and exhibited in New York City. What a surprise! I’d always thought her entire life was spent in New Mexico. After she married Alfred Stieglitz, America’s first advocate of modern art in America, New York is where she and other modern artists began to proliferate. Her summers were spent in Lake George, NY.

From her great success as an artist,  I would never have considered that she was anything but a person who had all she needed right inside of herself from the start. But according to this quote, not so! “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.” ― Georgia O’Keeffe

I love that! And I look forward to reading more about this woman of extreme talent who had traits of self-doubt that each artist struggles with, from time to time, going about the days of fulfilling oneself in the world of art.IMG_20150221_153831_642

Above: Photo of Georgia O’Keefe taking a car ride.

IMG_20150221_154346_188Above: Replication of O’Keefe’s studio inside the Museum. The photo is the view from her studio window in NM. These are her art supplies, with a work in progress on her easel. Her studio and home in Albiquiu is also open for touring.  That has been put on my “For Another Day List.”

Okeefe church

Above: Non-floral O’Keefe painting.

IMG_20150221_155447_610Above:   Black Hollyhawk & Blue Larkspur (middle painting – my favorite in the Museum).

Below: The Georgia O’Keefe Museum Gift Shop has a wonderful selection of books, DVDs, notecards and other products with the “signature” Georgia O’Keefe art licensing trademark.

Georgia Okeefe books

Georgia Okeefe DVDS

See you tomorrow! We will be talking about an art form that I saw in my travels that I had never witnessed live before until my visit to Santa Fe, NM last week. It was thrilling and fun!

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

Film Friday: Outdoors Adventure

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Thanks to a posting I saw on www.cruxcollective.com I became aware of a documentary film of interest in the outdoor adventure movie category.

valley uprising2

Valley Uprising http://reelrocktour.com/ is a film about extreme athletes who climb to explore massive cliffs, crags, boulders and rocks in Yosemite National Park in high up places. They are a whole culture of adventurous souls who are the next generation of outdoorsmen who flock to this area and find their “religion and fulfillment” in rock climbing.

Red Bull Magazine says it’s “The best climbing film ever made.”

It won the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Just one award among several others.

Worthy of attention, I am sure, although I have yet to see it.  I am putting this film on my 2015 list of films not to miss! Sounds like a nice evening of adventure from the comfort of my living room. Yet, Yosemite is on my National Park Wish List to see upclose some day.

Valley Uprising

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her award-winning publication Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and her new book of stories Lessons of Heart and Soul,

visit this website http://www.allthingsfulfilling.com/about-the-book/.