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.

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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.

Searching for Creative Outlets?

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“Anyone can dabble, but once you’ve made that commitment, your blood has a particular thing in it, and it’s very hard for people to stop you.” ~ Bill Cosby 

Ever thought you’d like to explore painting but never had the gumption or confidence to try it? Or have you hesitated because you don’t want to invest in all the “gear” that comes with it, in case it ends up not really being your thing? No way to know if you will like it, unless you give it a whirl. 

What is becoming a new concept in entertainment, creativity and socializing in other places has now arrived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Splatz Canvas and Wine is an imaginative business that provides opportunity for people to stop in and dabble. People may not have aspirations of becoming the next Picasso or Monet, but it gives them the chance to have fun with a group of friends exploring a new hobby together. 

paint partySplatz Canvas and Wine provides the instructor, the canvas, paint, easels and all the other art supplies needed to create a painting that is uniquely yours. Organize a girls night out party, birthday parties for children or adults, corporate parties or enjoy a different kind of date night at Splatz. The older set (over 21 years of age) can order up a glass of wine and along with munchies. 

There are millions of people worldwide, who find personal fulfillment in painting and other art either as a hobby or as a career. Splatz Canvas and Wine provides a space to discover what people find so satisfying in creating images to hang on the wall. 

Now you can create, socialize and paint at Splatz Canvas and Wine in the ‘Boat!

Visit us tomorrow on 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.

The Goddess of Color

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I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for. ~ Georgia O’Keefe 

Thoughts of the harvest season are beginning to creep forward, as summer has evolved into the next season.

Here in Colorado where altitudes soar, the goddess of color has already donned her white cap and is preparing to pile on coats  of ivory before the winter season is even here. Everyone says “the fall colors are beautiful” here in the Rockies. Yes, they are pretty if you like primarily all shades of golden with an occasional dusting of sugar. The foliage is rather monochromatic, to my way of thinking. Contrasts are missing from the palette. Much better than no autumn at all, however. 

I think of New England when I see the turning leaves of autumn. The deciduous forests filled with sugar maples, oaks, birches and aspens, all mixed together, make for stunning fall landscapes. A fulfilling spectrum of colors – scarlett, maroon, purple, cadmiums, greens, brown, gold and orange bring in droves of tourists to the New England States for good reason.

I love living in places where all four seasons are noticeable. Weather indicators tell us it is time to change direction; deviate from the way we have been living the months before. Our eating habits vary and we put on extra or take off clothing to adjust for the rising and falling temperatures. In winter we hunker down and put on layers; in summer we live unadorned and freely.

 Before I allow myself to experience what comes with cooler climate, here is an image of autumn color that is found in the past season of  summer. I’m reluctant to say goodbye to the balmy weather.

This is an image of Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Gem Stone Village Discovered

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I’m also looking for gems that the average reader might have missed.” ~ Terry Windling

“My, oh, my, isn’t it gorgeous?” I said to my husband and son, as we drove into Ouray, Colorado on Saturday. “Didn’t I tell you, Mom?” my son said “that’s why I said you have to come see it.”

Ouray, nestled between high, high peaks in the San Juan Mountains is called “Switzerland of America©.” The “alpine-like” village is a gem. Outstanding ice climbing and summer rock climbing and the healing hot springs are just a few reasons that this little town is so busy with tourist activity.

On Saturday morning the center of town was the starting place for the Imogene Pass half marathon. Fifteen hundred runners faced a challenging course that climbed from altitudes of 7,700 elevation to 13,000, over an unpaved mountain pass from Ouray to Telluride.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the relief and pride I felt as my saw my son cross the finish line after running seventeen grueling miles. It takes guts and grit to tackle it. He did well for himself, finishing 14th in his age group. But, he said many of his competitors were “seniors who looked older than the mountains and really put him and the younger people to shame.” I noticed that as I watched.

Ouray has so much going for it! Well cared for Victorian buildings, art galleries and quaint little shops, the Ouray Hot Springs, and charming bed and breakfasts, historic hotels.

It was second Saturday Art Walk, and we made the rounds. We stopped into Buckskin Booksellers. They have a large and outstanding collection of books of regional interest on Colorado, Western history and of geological subjects such as mineralogy, mining, fossils, rock hounding and the like.

I also noticed some outstanding art books scattered in different retail establishments throughout town. You could not help but notice them because some were like tomes – oversized, beautifully crafted, filled with magnificent images. I spied John Fielder’s Ranches of Colorado http://www.johnfielder.com and books on the Art of Howard Terpning

Many notable movies were filmed in Ouray County. My son Marc’s interest in visiting Ouray was more than just to run in a footrace. As a filmmaker, he was interested in seeing the settings of these movies:

Our visit to Ouray was a perfect stop along the way of a fun and fulfilling weekend. I’d like to return some day to further explore this area. It is located near where four states – Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah come together. There is a lot more to see such as Twin Peak Falls, and more to do than I ever realized.  For more information, visit this website http://www.ouraycolorado.com/.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Blessings Rain Down

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“A contented mind is the greatest blessing a man can enjoy in this world. ~ Joseph Addison

I had a busy and fun-filled weekend. I feel the pressure to fit in all of the summertime  activities that bring me personal fulfillment before the arrival of cool weather in NW Colorado.

Yesterday, my husband and I went paddle boarding on Steamboat Lake in north Routt County. It was fun and much easier than I would have expected. The board was big, wide and easy to balance. As I paddled out to the center of the lake, I purposely propelled myself around in a circle to take in the 360 degree views of the 10,000 ft. mountain peak surroundings. A small colony of artists have settled in the area of Hahn’s Peak, where the landscape is indeed inspiring, in its natural beauty. In a recent article, the Steamboat Pilot interviewed some of the artists living in the area and they spoke of what the area brings to their art. http://bit.ly/TwfrM0

Saturday evening, my husband and I went to a B a B y Q – a rancher’s version of a baby shower. I am so happy for the parents-to-be who are in for the gift of a lifetime in about four weeks. Parenting will change their lives in more ways than I could ever tell them.

Babies and the blessing of rain that has come, toward the end of summer, were topics  of conversation throughout the evening. As we looked out over the 200+ acres of the ranch landowner’s property, it was good to see that they are haying. Pastures, all summer, have suffered the effects of drought conditions – not good for the agricultural industry.

On Friday evening, I ushered at my last Strings Musical Festival assignment for the season. The 25th Anniversary year is almost behind us. Johnny Clegg, a musician from South Africa was terrific. The music his band played was different and multi-cultural, as was the commentary between each number. This Grammy-award nominee has spoken out against apartheid, and he considers himself a cultural ambassador which has earned him honorary degrees from Dartmouth, CUNY and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. To read more about his accomplishments, and his music, Click here

The seasons of our lives and the seasons throughout the year come with their own pleasures. An extended fall for me would be most welcomed. I find all kinds of fulfilling things in the harvest season.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected andwww.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Art Appearing on Boughs

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The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.’  ~Robert M. Pirsig 

It is surely nearing Christmas time! When the Kiwanis Club of Steamboat begins selling their annual ornament at places around town, the holidays are drawing close. Beginning this weekend, the ornament will be available for buying. 

Our club’s major fundraising campaign is selling ornaments. From the proceeds we buy gifts for needy children at Christmas time, provide funding to send children to science camp, provide “Where to Worship” brochures for people visiting the area. We can be proud of our other random acts of service in our home town, too. 

This year, a talented and nationally known artist, Jean Perry helped us in fulfilling our interest in decorating the ornaments a little differently this year. Jean gave permission to Kiwanis to use an image of her painting “Fish Creek Falls” to embellish the bauble. 

It is a fair trade! Many visitors to the area purchase the ornaments in commemoration of their trip to Steamboat. They will take them as gifts to family and friends in other States, too. The ornaments will hang on boughs of Christmas trees far beyond Steamboat Springs,Colorado and people will become acquainted with the artist’s work. Good deal! 

Kiwanis of Steamboat is grateful to painter Jean Perry for her generosity in sharing her art, so that as a Club, we can “serve children of the world.” For more information on the artist, please visit www.JeanPerryStudio.com.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.