Observing Darkness and Light

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Every moment of dark and light is a miracle.” ~ Walt Whitman 

A Christmas tree gives rise to thoughts of darkness and light. Have you ever noticed how people’s interpretation of what makes a pretty tree is so opinionated and individual?

Many families argue while putting up a Christmas tree. Some like it simple, some more ornate. A modest nativity scene indicates to some that, indeed, Christmas is here. Others like their homes, properties and trees lit up like the night time neon lights of the Las Vegas strip. Some families like simple homemade strings of popcorn, and cranberries or perhaps pine cones sprayed with gold paint will do. An evergreen wreath hung on a door and lit by a single spot light is beauty at it’s best for some individuals. It is interesting how a certain holiday decorating style can be fulfilling to one, atrocious to another. It is all a matter of personal opinion. How about you? What is your idea of good taste? 

As we all know, a good way to tell whether the lights and ornaments are well-placed on a tree is to step back and take a look. You can find the spaces that are empty and fill them with shimmery light. 

It is like life. In order to move away from the darkness, we have to discover the light. In this upcoming holiday, find it – seek it! Stop and listen to the carolers, spend a day or evening walking Main Street. Join in the energy of the shoppers. Listen to beautiful holiday music. Bake a batch of Christmas cookies for an elderly person or a military veteran who has no family at all. It will lighten your spirit and brighten your day along with some one else’s, too. 

Watch out! You might just get caught up in the spirit and feel the swish of a magic stick over your world. What a fulfilling thought that is!

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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.

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Plein Air Painter in the Act

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A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh 

Last Christmas, our Kiwanis Club had a banner year of fundraising through sales of our collectible, uniquely designed Christmas ornaments. We feel the increase in sales was attributable to doing something a little different last year. We offered two separate designs rather than one. One ornament had an iconic Steamboat Springs scene (which is typical) and the second ornament choice had an image of the four 2010 Olympians from Ski Town U.S.A.We wanted to honor the gold and glory that the athletes brought back to this town! Guess what happened? People couldn’t decide which they wanted to so they purchased both! 

Now the pressure is on to try to top last year’s sales! We have decided that for a second year in a row, we would veer from the norm. This year, we will feature the art work of a plein air painter who has given permission to let the Kiwanis Club of Steamboat use an image of her painting for the ornament design. 

This artist, has found inspiration for her plein air paintings all over the world and she recently independently published images of her art work in her book “Thirty Years Of Plein-Air Painting: The Art Of Jean Perry.” For more information on her book and to read what representational painter Richard Schmid has to say about the artist, please visit http://bit.ly/mXOEuV

I am quite excited to see how the ornament turns out. I like having local artists, no matter what medium they work in, involved in the process of creating art for the benefit of community. 

The fundraising dollars from ornament sales will help support a number of worthy causes focused on “improving the lives of children – one child and one community at time.” 

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