Trust

January 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Trust is paramount. A small word with huge ramifications, trust is rock solid ~ no pie-in-the-sky fluff, no wishy-washy in-betweens; it’s something that’s earned, that’s proven, and worth more than all the world’s shiniest diamonds.

In business and in relationships it’s as simple as saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and following through with action. It’s confidence. It’s safety. It’s integrity. Trust is the gold standard of principles at the base of all principles. Without it, things crumble. With it, you can change the world.

In faith ~ in your gut, and in your heart ~ trust is conviction, belief, and letting go of outcomes. Without it, you’re dangling. With it, you can change your world.

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Black with Milk, Please

December 30, 2013 § 3 Comments

It’s true, I love my tea. Not just any tea, mind you. Black, strong with robust flavor, a dollop of milk, no sugar, thank you. Herbal tea is nice, too, but doesn’t satisfy in quite the same way. So there you have it.

I didn’t always drink so much tea. I wasn’t raised among tea-drinkers, but early on I opted away from coffee, primarily because in order for it to taste good I needed to feed it lots of milk and sugar, and for all that trouble, why not just have coffee ice cream instead (with hot fudge on top, of course)? (What, you don’t see my logic?)

In any event, I was a natural for tea. British/Scottish blood, all that, and I’m rather fond of it, and that’s that. It’s marvelously friendly, it’s calming and uplifting at the same time, and it’s got this great reputation for solving just about anything (have some tea, dear…!), with sometimes that “anything” including all the ills of the world. It’s good stuff, tea.

My love of tea also lead me to create daily “morning tea” posts on my Patricia Saxton / Saxton Studio facebook page. By now you’ve probably realized I have a thing for working with themes, and I’ve found it’s generally easiest (and more fun) to use subjects one likes a lot. So tea it was, and it turns out those posts have been nicely received. Sometimes I grab nifty teacup or teapot photos from various sources, sometimes I create original designs, and a selection of the latter are included below (all but the vintage photos, which I tossed in for added flavor) …. seemed like a good compilation to end the year, with all the tea that’s seen me through innumerable hours of illustrating, writing, designing and pesky deadlines, not to mention long, wonderful chats around the kitchen table.

Here’s to tea, and all the lovely things it represents.

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Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Those of you who know me, know I can’t just do “one”, so here are a few  … a holiday potpourri of sorts from my head to my hand, and from my heart to yours, with warmest wishes for brightest blessings. Merry Christmas!

 

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Fill it with Gratitude

December 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

There’s a lot of emphasis on commercialism during the holiday season ~ not that we’re intentionally insensitive to the meaning of Christmas or that we’re shallow, materialistic creatures, but that we want to give.

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We want to make others happy with our gifts, we want our children to squeal with delight, our family and friends to appreciate the thoughtfulness of a special something we’ve picked out especially for them. It’s actually a lovely tradition begun with a certain three kings bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, just perhaps gone a little wild.

With that in mind, I’m feeling pretty pleased with my choice of “gift” for the guests of my annual holiday gathering this year. My daughter and I started our own gratitude jars a little less than a year ago (it’s almost time to open them up and look inside!), and I thought, hmmm… yes, a perfect gift to make for our friends. Homemade, fun and constructive to boot.

I like imagining how they’ll be filled, all those pieces of folded-up paper with notes scrawled about people, things and moments they’ll be grateful for during the year ahead.

It’s a fairly well-respected concept that gratitude reaps harmony; it elevates our spirit and sense of inner peace, opens the gates for greater abundance. I’m pretty sure all that might even be scientifically based ~ something physiological happens that changes our chemical makeup in a positive way. But whether it is or isn’t a precisely proven fact, one thing I know for sure is that genuine appreciation and feelings of gratitude are uplifting. That writing them down makes the vibration linger longer, and re-reading them allows you to feel grateful all over again.

There’s only good to be had from this simple exercise. And as it’s been said, “There is always, always, something to be grateful for.”

So I hope they use their little jars, well and often. :  )

Poetry as Ruler of the World

December 13, 2013 § 1 Comment

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“I say, ‘Get me some poets as managers.’ Poets are our original systems thinkers. They contemplate the world in which we live and feel obligated to interpret, and give expression to it in a way that makes the reader understand how that world runs. Poets, those unheralded systems thinkers, are our true digital thinkers. It is from their midst that I believe we will draw tomorrow’s new business leaders.” ~ Sidney Harman, CEO Multimillionaire of a stereo components company”
― Daniel H. Pink

I stumbled upon this quote this morning, and it reminded me that when I read Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind” a few years back, I was (given what I do) thrilled at his theory that right-brainers will rule the future. There’s a place for the creative, the innovative, the out-of-the-box thinker ~ more than ever! And not just any place, but a valued place. And not just a “dusting off the weariness of life” kind of valuable (although that’s important!), but a place that moves, shakes and shapes our world.

Of course, we all have elements of both; right and left brains. And perhaps because of a genetic blend making me feel fairly balanced in that department, I dislike labeling ~ or assuming, for example, that if someone is logical they aren’t creative, or someone who’s creative can’t be logical, because that’s simply not true. We have tendencies towards one or the other, most definitely, whether innate or learned, but both aspects reside in most people’s brains to some degree, and I presume for good reason. (So when my very creative daughter complains about having to learn Math, I insist that she needs to exercise that part of her brain to stay healthy and wise and grounded, and not end up with both head and feet in the clouds. “Use it or lose it” has real meaning here.)

That said, and putting aside my own personal glee at the prospect of “right brains” leading the future, the theory does have merit, especially when you consider how many previously human-held jobs have been replaced by increasingly efficient, computerized functions – freeing up some of us to be more creative and others to flounder for their bearings.

And while I’m not completely convinced that poets should be managers, I am convinced that there’s enormous opportunity for unlocking the floodgates of our ingenuity when more menial tasks are automated. And I think most people perform better when they’re inspired, rather than watching a clock, regardless if they’re mathematically or artistically driven ~ both of which can be dry or highly creative functions, depending on any given person’s combination of atoms and molecules, environment, and spirit.

To do anything well, to grow, stretch boundaries, reach the moon  ~ to live better ~ we need to think big and welcome a fusion of the intuitive with the intellect. And really, it’s always been so, when great things have been achieved, but maybe we’ll honor it more. Maybe poetry will change the world!

So why not change even today ~ open your mind to the galaxy, and get to work.

Holiday Goodies from Saxton Studio

December 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s that magical, hectic, gift-giving time of year! And again I add my voice to the chorus of choices, with gifts about reading and imagination.

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I’m truly grateful – and pleased as punch – that my books are enjoyed and continue to sell year after year, and I extend a heartfelt Thank You to all of you who’ve supported my efforts!

If you know anyone else who might like to give or receive these books and products, please feel free to share the love and pass this post along. To purchase, a click on the image above will take you to my Amazon Author page. Links to individual books and related gifts are listed on my blog’s Shop page!

Wishing you every blessing this holiday season.
Don’t forget to feel the magic!

The Conjuring of Beasts and Things

November 24, 2013 § 2 Comments

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I feel like I should be handing out cigars. Well, not quite yet ~ but maybe I oughta stock up in anticipation, as I’ve reached the final stretch of my long walk into the magical world of dragons.

It’s a good feeling when months of creating ~ revising, adding on, taking away, nurturing and bonding with creatures that somehow feel alive in your mind, made real through your hands, with paper, pen, pencil, brush and keyboard ~ finally comes together. Like carrying a child for nine months, you find you’re anxious to give birth. Like rehearsing a play, the hour comes, the curtain rises, it’s showtime. There’s relief, trepidation and confidence, all mixed in. Cigars and (more likely) flowers are shared. And we’re almost there.

Once it’s edited and packed off to press, once it’s printed and bound and shipped out to the Amazon’s and Barne’s & Noble’s of the world, it’s all very tidy looking. For any illustrated book like this, the pages show a certain level of thought and detail and complexity, but not the background steps ~ not the conjuring, the sketches, the fine-tunings, the first, second third, fourth drafts, the hundreds of decisions along the way. The “fitting in time” when there really isn’t any, which means a pretty grueling schedule. It’s quite the process…  satisfying in many ways, invigorating in others, tiring in others, and always hope that at the end of the line it will be well-received.

This will probably be my last book of this”trilogy”: mermaids, fairies, now dragons. And that’s a good place to stop. But there are other works that’ve been waiting backstage ~ stories, poetry, paintings ~ so it certainly won’t be the last of me.

For right now though, I’m off to dot those final i’s and cross the last t’s. Then my publisher will have a whack at it, and I’ll start ordering those cigars in honor of birthing more beasts and things. (Due dates to come … stay tuned!)

Twelve Months of Flowers

November 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

If only it were true. Unless you count holly berries, there’s really not much in the way of floral color in northeast winter months.

But “Twelve Months of Flowers” can be had via art prints, from the series published 1n 1730 by renowned British horticulturist and author Robert Furber. Mr. Furber’s name is highly attributed to these exquisite prints, and while I’m grateful that he had the insight, substantial research and knowledge (and, no doubt, the funds) to produce the collection, I’m mostly interested in the artistry.

We had two of these prints hanging in our dining room during my growing-up years – one May, one November, the months of my parent’s birthdays. Admired by all, they adorned a modest space with a rich, subtle elegance, (and now that I think of it, may have had an influence on my own interest in drawing things botanical) ~ but in all those years, while we probably did, I don’t remember talking about the artist. Regardless, for some reason they lodged in my mind’s eye today ~ perhaps an unconscious nod to my parent’s wedding anniversary? ~ so I went looking.

First of all, they are hand-colored engravings, produced by English engraver Henry Fletcher from paintings of Flemish-born artist Pieter Casteels . (They also produced an equally stunning second series, Twelve Months of Fruits.) Each work is a glorious detail of plants in seasonal bloom, with each plant numbered, and, at the time, a list of the corresponding names. More than 400 plant species were featured. This was no small project.

And so a few centuries later, I thank them ~ all three of them: Furber, Fletcher and Casteels ~ for their fine, luscious collaboration of study, talent and skill. They are so beautiful, I might even venture to call them a labor of love. But that’s what art is.

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Storytelling and Why We Create

November 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

Why do we paint? Or write, or play an instrument or dance? Because we have to. Because if we don’t, we’ll become cranky and irritable. We’ll be rotten company not only for others but ourselves.

Some say it’s because they have a message or a moral or a special meaning to it, but I say it’s instinct. There’s a story that needs telling, and we happen to be the vessels. It’s gut. It’s primal. Like eating or sleeping or hugging. You just gotta do it. It’s for survival of the spirit.

So this is for all who answer that call. The poets, novelists, essayists, and scriptwriters; for the orators, artists and musicians; for all who move our hearts and elevate our minds, take us to new worlds, teach us new ways of thought, bring us tears, laughter, wisdom and peace with the richness of their expression, the telling of stories ~ blessed are the storytellers.  Please, keep doing what you’re doing. ~ Patricia

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Have Broom, Will Fly

October 31, 2013 § 3 Comments

I’ve been thinking “I need to make a Halloween post on my blog”, like I’ve done every year (whether it’s cancelled or not!). I usually gather up some of the coolest pumpkin carvings I can find and make a nice spread here. Write something clever to go with it. But instead, I’ve been immersed in the far spookier world of finishing my next book ~ which I’m happy to say is progressing well, but it’s quite time consuming, and then there’s client work, and there’s life. All that.

So rather than my pumpkin fare, I’m taking a “loftier”, more spiritual approach …. and hoping you all conjure up a very happy, magical, appropriately creepy and preferably hot-chocolate-filled All Hallow’s Eve, with blessings all around.

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