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.

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Treasuring Art

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 “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”   ~ Chinese proverb 

At a thrift store recently I came across an art print of Thomas Moran – imagine my delight! It seemed like a God thing – the image was just sitting there waiting for someone who’d appreciate it to pick it up . I gave in to my desires and purchased it – a real deal. I am very grateful to have the Moran art print hanging on my wall. He was one of the greatest illustrator and colorists of all times.

Every evening the week before last, I had been watching Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.  http://bit.ly/182xh1NMoran’s name was mentioned as one of the top landscape painters of the 19th century who ventured west. I learned he traveled to YellowstoneNational Park from the Hudson RiverSchool in New York, in the summer of 1871, to document on canvas what others described as a place where “hell bubbled up.”

Many artists traveled westward in the early days of the founding of the U.S. National Parks and they continue to be favorite places for artists who are seeking inspiration. Artists still go to paint, photograph and write about the dramatic landscapes in these protected government lands which are far more unique than many other places across the United States. Ralph Waldo Emerson described the National Parks as places where “God is more easily found in nature than in the works of man.” 

Lots of people find personal fulfillment in poking around in thrift shops. You never know what treasures you might find. I scored!

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Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow!

Artistic Energy Abounds in Steamboat

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Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.Margaret B. Runbeck

The 5th annual All Arts Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was this past weekend, and I was busy. On Friday afternoon I browsed booths filled with artisan wares of all kinds – jewelry, photography, sculpture, fiber arts, oil paintings, pottery and more. There was something of interest for everyone.

On Friday evening I ushered at Strings Music Festival, and I was so grateful I was able to see Love Letters. This play, by A.R. Gurney, earned finalist status for a Pulitzer Prize for drama. I adored it. It left me amazed at how two people reading a script could make an evening so engaging. Katherine Ross and Wilfred A Brimley showed their talents, as actors, by drawing me into the storyline immediately, from the first line to the last.

On Sunday morning at the UnitedMethodistChurch, an operatic singer was incorporated into the service. Although fabulous local musical talent is often showcased in our church, Elizabeth Gore-Stanley had come to town over the weekend as part of the Emerald City Opera. Her beautiful rendition of  “Blessings” aptly described the way I was feeling as I listened to her exquisite God-given voice, and thought about this place, Steamboat.

I wrapped up my weekend back at Strings Music Festival ushering.  Lyle Lovett and his big band gave a performance which did not disappoint. All talented musicians in their own right, with albums to their credit. A little bit country, a little bit Texas swing, some rhythm and blues made for a fulfilling evening. Arnold McCuller, Lovett’s sidekick (backup vocalist) was one smooth guy and you can listen to voice and song writing from his album Soon As I Get Paid on his website. http://bit.ly/13yUFog.

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As we move into midweek, this town in the northwest corner of the Rocky Mountains will continue to stay busy with tourists. The nation’s top bikers will pedal their way through Steamboat Springs on August 21 and 22nd as part of the US Pro Biking Challenge “America’s Race.” which begins in Aspen, Colorado and ends in Denver. Breathtaking altitudes (over 12,000 ft), treacherous mountain passes and spectacular scenery will bring over one million visitors to the State to witness this competition.

Come on back to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Clearing the Way

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“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Are you person who has always had an artistic calling, yet you have never pursued your passion in earnest? You are not alone. There are many people, for various reasons, who have had to travel down other career paths feeling they have not fulfilled their God-given talents.

Matt Tommey book1The book Unlocking the Heart of the Artist: Practical Guide to Fulfilling Your Creative Call as an Artist in the Kingdom speaks to this issue for the new generation of people who seek personal fulfillment as a priority in their lives. He invites others to live fully, doing what makes them happy, and to become “unstuck” by expressing themselves creatively.

The author, Matt Tommey, is a successful basket maker and art consultant from Asheville, North Carolina. His sensible messages to other artists, through his publications, helps clear the way of self-doubt by providing hope and insight to individuals who wish to thrive and become fulltime artists. His book Crafting your Brand: Simple Strategies for Cultivating a Successful Creative Career, is also a good resource for anyone who wants to pursue their calling.

A well-rounded artist, Matt Tommey,  makes a living in a combination of ways, also offering workshops on the craft of basketry. To learn more about his workshops,  how to order these publications and to see his website,  http://bit.ly/1bpQhI9 .

Do return tomorrow for Film Friday, we will be featuring a film that is soon to be released that plays well into our recent topics of writing on All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

The Viewpoint of a Famed Writer

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The past actually happened. History is what someone took the time to write down.” ~ A. Whitney Brown

The town that fooled the British” is a tagline that St Michaels Maryland http://bit.ly/140ExHA earned during the War of 1812. As I entered through the gates of the Inn at Perry Cabin and came upon the rose gardens with a fabulous garden conservatory, my exact thoughts were “I do, indeed, feel as if I am in England.”

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 Above: Garden Conservatory on Grounds of Inn at Perry Cabin http://bit.ly/17JGjCc

Below: Entrance to Inn at Perry Cabin

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St. Michaels, named after the patron saint of mariners, is filled with seafaring history. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a popular attraction for tourists, and locals alike, who want to learn about the legacy of the town and share its place in history with children.

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Above: Building at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum http://bit.ly/11bNJu2

Below: More sites on the grounds of the Museum

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A trading post for trappers and tobacco farmers back in the mid-sixteenth century, today St. Michaels offers great recreational opportunity on the waters of the Miles River and Broad Creek, just some of the fabled places on the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay that author James Michener wrote about.http://bit.ly/140G54n.

A well-preserved vintage port, my exploration of “St. Mike’s” was fun, educational and inspirational as I took in the museum, shops, art galleries and other sites in heart of Chesapeake Bay country. Join me as I share my journey from St. Michaels to nearby Tilghman’s Island through photographs.

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Above: Entrance to Marina at St Michaels

Below: How to Read the Weather from A Stone

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Below: The very charming “Parsonage Inn” (circa 1883) http://www.parsonage-inn.com/

Love the turret uniquely placed in the center, at the heart of the structure, rather than on the corner as so  many typically  are.

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Gallery Window

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Photo above: Loved the name of this boat “Once Upon a Time.”

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Bridge Restaurant at the Bridge onto Tilghman’s Island

To read more about the history of this region of Maryland, things to see and do, and to see more pictures, follow the links I have provided throughout this article. Thanks for visiting this site. Come back tomorrow!

This blog brought to you by www.allthingsfulfilling.com and www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. A company specializing in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers.

Living and Learning

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“Writing and learning and thinking are the same process.” ~ William Zinsser

I had a lovely afternoon on Friday with a woman who fully embraces the concept of “life long learner.” I met her two years ago at a retreat sponsored by the United Methodist Women. Right away I was inspired by the interesting contributions she was making to our group discussions and wanted to know more about her. I’ve since learned she is an artist and a writer who is still avidly interested in the world and learning at eighty-three years of age. So young at heart, she still is in command of her own life. She swims at our local hot springs pool, volunteers weeding gardens and has a fulfilling spiritual life.

Last week, it was fun to finally see her contemporary paintings and discuss the thought process that she put into each composition. She interestingly explained the symbolism she incorporated into each of her paintings and how it related to where she was along her life path when she created them.

I took along an independently published art DVD to share with her that I knew she’d appreciate, a portrait painting demonstration, called “The Captain’s Portrait” by master painter Richard Schmid
 http://bit.ly/103RYtr. For me watching it brought back wonderful memories of 2001. I was in the audience the day the video was filmed and was attending my first live painting demonstration of a world-renown artist.

elderly paintingFrom our back and forth exchange of discussion as we watched the film together, it was evident that this woman has been a life-long art student. Although her works of art may not hang in top galleries throughout the country, she has won “Best in Show” awards. She seems to have a wonderful grasp of the concepts that were discussed in the film such as shape, form, values of light and dark, line, textures and color harmony. I shouldn’t be surprised, from the moment I met her she seemed very astute.

Just before we parted company , she told me how she has a void in her heart. Some years ago, the group of local painters who used to gather regularly at the Steamboat “Art Depot” and paint together, disbanded. She said “its much harder these days to find motivation to paint, and she misses the camaraderie greatly.”

I was reminded, once again, why art matters to young and old alike and to myself! This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected

Return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, where sharing independent thoughts, words and views is all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Faith in the Path Less Traveled

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Weave in faith and God will find the thread. ~Author Unknown

I was without my computer for awhile yesterday; it was in the “shop.” I took advantage of the freedom away from digital technology. Since so much of what I do is on-line based, a close relationship with all things paper has nearly been trashed. I often read the news and magazines, and sometimes books, via the computer these days, subscribing to fewer print publications.

Yesterday, for a few blissful hours, I sat in the Bud Memorial Library and read the April 2013 edition of Southwest Magazine from cover to cover. How I enjoyed myself!

The first great article I encountered was about artist Michelle Dunaway. It was superbly written by Gussie Fauntleroy. Dunaway, an artist who lives and studied at the MastersAcademy in Albuquerque, NM mentioned the importance of finding the joy in unexpected things by getting off the beaten path. She told of her childhood hikes with her father, and whenever there was a choice to make about what direction to travel, he taught her to take the path least followed which, more times than not, led to discovering things she didn’t anticipate.

art faithAs a painter, each time Dunaway faces a blank canvas it presents her with opportunities to make choices of color, lines, shape and other design elements that make a good painting. She has been taught to make right choices in art through workshops with the most influential and impressive painters of our time, such asRichard Schmid  and Jeremy Lipking http://www.lipking.com. And by studying the book Alla Prima: Everything I Know About Painting.

Dunaway says she “has always had an  interest in capturing  human expressions in paintings.” Her image “Faithfulness,” shown in the 2013 issue of Southwest Art, is an exquisite example of her portrait painting talents. It can also been seen on Dunaway’s website. http://www.dunawayfineart.com.

Next time I am in Santa Fe, NM, I look forward to visiting Sage Creek Gallery where Dunaway’s work is represented. Legacy Gallery, M Gallery of Fine Art and Insight Gallery also exhibits and sells her work.

Return  tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, where sharing independent thoughts, words and views is all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.