Self-Fulfilling Action

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We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than through our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we accomplish goals.” ~ Stephen Covey

 

It’s the season of Thanksgiving. Ten years ago I had limited knowledge about independent publishing and I had never written anything. But I had a strong interest!  If it hadn’t been for the fruits of my labors over a span of the last decade, there is no way a project that will soon come to fruition would have landed in my lap!  A year ago I became entrusted to write someone else’s story. I am honored and thankful! The publication is going to be outstanding.

Truly, it takes just as much action as it does words when it comes to becoming a writer and independent publisher. Nixing fear and doubt and replacing it with unwavering faith and the words “I AM WRITING AND PUBLISHING A BOOK” (rather than I am trying to) makes a big difference in ones determination and motivation to get the job done, project after project.

The opportunity came on the heels of taking a break from any serious writing time because for a season in my life I became full-time caretaker to two terminally ill parents and it reinforced my belief in the power of writing to heal from loss and bring personal fulfillment.

The narrative was so much fun to write! I know the artist is looking forward to revealing his new publication and it will soon be hot off the press!  Keep your eye out on this website, soon more information will be posted.

Artful Titles

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“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines who you will be when you can’t help it.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Last night, many artists whom I’ve directly or indirectly made connection with in the art community were in my thoughts when I attended Bruce E Mowday’s book signing for his publication Stealing Wyeth. The book signing was held at the Harford County Public Library in Bel Air.

The veteran reporter, investigative journalist and public speaker knows how to tantalize an audience! Bruce E. Mowday gave us just enough information about the theft of fifteen Wyeth paintings for us to want to learn more and read on! All you art enthusiasts and crime book fans will want to know more about the characters, the art thieves and the author behind the story. Go to the author’s website. He has published about twenty books in various genres and he says his range of subjects can be contributed to his avid interest in people, both from the past and in today’s world.

Soon, more revelations will be made about more books artists world-wide will be interested in.  Keep your eye on this website.

 

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.

 

Art Writing Opportunities

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“Art helps us see connection and brings a more coherent meaning to our world.” ~ Ernest Boyer, Founder, Carnegie Foundation

In my previous post about two weeks ago, I wrote about a plein-air painting workshop I attended given by Artists-in-Residence Mike Bare and Joanne Bare at Ladew Topiary Gardens. I’m grateful I have acquired knowledge about painting through past life experiences with several master artists. It has led to opportunities to write about art and the humanities in general, such as all the essays on the website Through the Lens of Her Camera, about photojournalist Cheryl Ito.  Her work is in the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Over the past year, I have been engaged in another art related writing project. Soon the manuscript will be going to print. It has been very gratifying and more will come about this later!

Some of what Bare spoke about in the workshop at Ladew Gardens can be applied to writing.  “Art,”  Mike said,  “allows us to understand who we are.”  This is precisely why I find writing so fulfilling. I have learned so much about myself and what I value through my writing.  Authors tend to write about what they know.  You can understand much of what is important to me by reading the 2500 posts (which are indexed by category) on this website, AllThingsFulfilling.com. Four topics – art, gardens, independent publishing, and faith are just some of the subjects I return to time and time again but always with a new perspective.

Painters do the same thing, according to Bare, they tend to return to the same spot time and time again because one makes connection with the scene that way and paints it well. There are often seasonal variables when painting “en plein air” but one finds value in coming back to the same location. Capturing the changes in light or other seasonal/environmental/atmospheric conditions holds both significance and challenge for the artist.

During the workshop at Ladew Topiary Gardens, photos were shown of other artists work. In one image, a cityscape, we saw a part of the composition was intentionally left unfinished. Yet, as the instructor pointed out, we did not notice it until we made a closer inspection of the painting. Why?  “Because our mind makes up what is missing!”  says Bare. True enough, I thought. Readers do the same thing with stories. They read into it what they will by the associations made with the words given on the page. Not every detail in a story is drawn-out. Some readers get irked when they have to draw their own conclusions and others like to be left hanging so they can use their own imaginations and create what happens next.

Thank you to Mike Bare and Joanne Bare for continuing my art education simply by allowing me to be a listening participant in the morning lecture. A writer’s life is wonderfully fulfilling.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard.

Forever Grateful for Art Education

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“To live a life fulfilled, reflect on the things you have with gratitude.” ~ Jaren Davis

Last weekend I sat in on a plein air painting workshop held at Ladew Topiary Gardens. It is truly an extraordinary,  top-notch venue for artists who enjoy getting out of the studio to paint a garden landscape scene right in front of them in natural light.

Instructors and husband and wife team, Mike Bare and Joanne Bare are completing their one year Artists-in-Residence at Ladew Topiary Gardens. As I listened to the artists talk, I couldn’t help but feel gratitude for a few chapters of my life that I would not have wanted to skip for anything – the opportunity to work at two different art galleries. More recently, Wild Horse Gallery in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and some years ago at West Wind Fine Art, LLC in Manchester, Vermont. That is when I handled the order fulfillment of art books and videos published by representational painter Richard Schmid‘s publishing house, Stove Prairie Press, LLC.  What an opportunity it was to learn so much about painting. My appreciation of art grew exponentially with those life experiences.

So, when artist Mike Bare spoke about differences in painting styles between loose vs. tight , and terminology such as warm vs cool colors, opposites on a color wheel, soft and hard edges, painting shadows (dark) vs light and negative spaces, I understood what he was talking about. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about other technical aspects of painting before the artists went out into the gardens to sketch and practice what their instructor so capably preached.

( Above photo: Mike Bare at Barn Gallery at Ladew Topiary Gardens)

Some of what Bare spoke about can be applied to writing. Do come back to my next post on October 10, 2019. I’ll explain what the artist said that also relates to a fulfilling writers life.

(Above Photo: Mike Bare’s sketchbook and paintings at Ladew Topiary Gardens)

Sundown for Labor Day

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What a glorious summer it has been.  It is the time of the year when I feel as if I have returned to days of my youth. An outpouring of memories come with that.

Over Labor Day weekend and for a few days next week I’d like to encourage our readers to check out some of the posts in the archives. You can look them up by category or scroll through the site. Something will catch your interest. There are over 1700 writings on All Things Fulfilling that have drawn 100,000+ viewers to this website.

Each of the postings is about something that has inspired me as a writer or as a human being to follow my own kind of bliss.

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See you back here a little later in the week. I promise. Refreshed, rejuvenated and with a wealth of ideas that will come together between now and the New Year.

This blog is brought to you by award winning author Sue Batton Leonard. Her books include EVVY award -winner Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.