July 17, 2016 § 3 Comments
There will be days you feel discouraged. Days you think, “Why bother?” Days when some inner voice may even mock you. Trust me on this. There will be days your sparkle dims, your enthusiasm stumbles. Maybe you fall into a pit or two.
But if you have a dream, if you have a passion, a yearning in your soul, deep and present that makes you feel vibrant and alive, it’s not put there to toss aside, or succumb to “why bother’s” and bury in the far recesses of some imaginary drawer – it’s there because it’s part of what you’re here for. It’s part of what you’re meant to do. It’s part of what you’re meant to give. And it won’t be ignored.
So when those uncomfortable, doubtful days arise, walk through them. Observe them. Say, “Look at that. I see you’re having a bad patch.” – and move along. Maybe today isn’t the day. But the day will come and you’ll be glad you kept going. The craziest, best part, is that others will be glad too.
I believe in my heart of hearts that we’re given these seeds of dreams and gifts and yearnings to nurture, make real and share into the world. Big or small, loud or quiet, one step at a time or taken in big leaps – your dreams are worthy of tending; in fact, they’re demanding that you do
July 4, 2016 § 2 Comments
Peace is liberty. And today we honor the liberty of the United States of America.
We honor our founders ~ their courage, their foresight and their brave ideals. We honor our collective, indomitable, independent spirit; our community of souls originating from all over the world who have made this the land of the free and home of the brave. And as night skies across America burst with color, rumble and crack with cannon-like blasts, we’re reminded of all those who’ve fought for our freedoms and fought for peace, who have dreamed and toiled for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In that celebratory spirit, here’s a small collection of some designs I’ve created over the years, wishing a Happy Birthday to America!
June 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
How to change a tire. How to balance a checkbook. How to pack a suitcase efficiently. That at one time a slide rule could solve almost any problem.
He taught me that weeds are best pulled close to the ground when the soil is damp and the moon is waning. Almost anything can be recycled and remade. Material things are overrated. Contribute something positive. Leave the world a better place for your having been there. Nothing is more meaningful than family and nothing more beautiful than the earth.
My father showed me practicality, patience and perseverance. He showed me modesty and humility. Loyalty. Honesty. Steadily standing for what you believe in.
He gave me his long legs and his sensible disposition. He gave me a weakness for potatoes, and all things fresh from the garden. He did not, however, give me his creative math genius, nor his pension for saving old nails ~ but he gave, by example, the meaning of the word “integrity”, and for that alone I am eternally grateful.
Here’s to you, Dad, and all the fathers who teach even half this stuff. The world is a better place because of you.
June 17, 2016 § 2 Comments
Tim Cantor is ridiculously talented. (I’m pretty sure if you look up the word “amazing” in the dictionary, his picture would be there.) With a brand new exhibit (on both coasts) and a beautifully produced 333-page hard cover coffee-table book showcasing his extraordinary art and poignant writings, he’s a shining star and rightly so. (Oh, and did I mention that one of his paintings inspired an original dress design? I don’t recall who designed the dress – apologies! – but did have fun seeing it.)
Last night I had the opportunity to meet Tim and his incredibly sweet, gracious wife, Amy, at the opening of his show in SOHO at the AFA Gallery. Props to my friend Roxanne for the introduction, and thanks to the weather for making it a perfect evening to stroll through the city. Then, of course, was the phenomenal art, admired with a glass of champagne in hand.
And, there was a dragon! A marvelous dragon, and another point of connection between two artists finding a few moments amidst the flurry of an opening reception to chat about how our minds work and how we don’t really go to many art shows and never wanted to be influenced by other artists so kind of kept our heads down, eyes on the canvas, brushes ready for the whichever inspiration would win out over another. (I don’t think you realize missing other people “getting” that sort of thing until you stop working long enough to rub shoulders.)
Tim, though, unlike myself, has made his fine art into a hugely successful full-time endeavor – and with his mastery, it would be a crime if he didn’t.
His demeanor is gentle and genuine, and his work – even if you didn’t know that he’s considered an artistic “rock star”, or that his art was introduced into the permanent art collection of the White House at age 15, or that his paintings hang in numerous celebrities’ homes (Robert DeNiro, Robert Redford, for example), have been exhibited around the globe and garnered wildly impressive media recognition – is truly exceptional. Seeing his surreal pieces in living color in the relatively intimate, high-ceilinged well-lit space of AFA was a delight.
The exhibit is up all summer at 54 Greene Street New York, NY 10013. Details here.
All art created in oils, © Tim Cantor. See more of Tim’s work at timcantor.com.
June 13, 2016 § 1 Comment
This morning as the events in Orlando lay fresh and heavy on my mind, I was keenly aware of the particular beauty of the dawning day; as if everything were the same as before darkness struck.
The birds trilled boldly and sweetly; a robin strolled where the sun, brilliant and soft, cast a lush, velvet tone across the grass; the air was clear, the breeze refreshing; squirrels scampered, flowers bloomed – a perfect day unfolding, as if mocking our collective sorrow.
Or, I thought, perhaps – perhaps – it was reminding us to never lose hope, never give up; that light fuels life; that yes, even while terrible pain and suffering exist, unfathomable acts occur at the hand of a few, that light is more powerful than darkness. I have to believe this. I have to believe we can do better.
As souls weep;
The sun rises,
Defying the weight
On our hearts,
Of death and loss
So we pray, we grieve,
We pledge to love more.
And we silently rage
For a humanity
Elevated and tested
Yet still resolved
To rise –
Darkness cannot win.
– Patricia Saxton
June 6, 2016 § 6 Comments
“I don’t get it,” the little boy said.
He was looking at my Book of Fairies. Assuming he was astounded by my artwork, his mother began explaining how I made the pictures for my books – how I drew them by hand, using a pencil to sketch and then add more detail; how I used pens and paints for color.
“But I don’t get it,” he repeated. And his mother said “I know, it’s pretty amazing right?”
“No”, the little boy said, shaking his head and scrunching his nose. “I don’t get magic.”
Then he thought a little more and added “I don’t get magic. I only believe in ninjas.”
Yet there we were, sitting at my kitchen table, the air thick with that very thing, that elusive stuff called magic.
Not the hocus pocus kind. No card tricks or rabbits emerging from empty hats. But moments when you can’t help but feel the stir and sweet bristle of magic in the air – which is the best way I can describe my meeting with this little boy’s family last September. (And I realize this could be a “you had to be there” kind of story, but I’ll tell it anyway, because it’s a sweet story – and because sometimes the stars align, and when they do, I tend to pause and take note.)
It had ordinary beginnings. A friend introducing one friend to another on facebook. My initial reluctance (how many facebook friends does one need?), then giving in. New friend sharing pictures from her daughter’s fairy-themed birthday party, my Book of Fairies as centerpiece. (Hearing that people may do this is one thing; seeing it – gorgeous photos of the book surrounded by fairy decor and childhood joy – is quite another. My heart was full.) Notes shared back and forth. Connection and friendship blossoming. A few months later, “…we’ll be in your area, my daughter would love to meet you and have the book signed?”
It’s a beautiful day when they stop by. And there it is – that unexpected stir and bristle in the air. We smile and hug as if we’ve known each other for eons. We do ordinary things like chat and look at art and drink tea and eat the brownies I’d prepared – but nothing feels ordinary. The light is crisp and clear, the mood exceptionally easy. A veil lifted. And somewhere in there the children steal my heart.
We get around to signing the book. Sitting on my front stoop, a white butterfly lands on my writing hand. It stays while we talk and stays while I sign the book and stays while we talk some more. It stays and stays, and stays until we question whether it’s indeed alive (although I would swear I felt little feet moving on my skin). Eventually my new young fan gently nudged her fingers under its wings and turned to a nearby plant where our butterfly friend floated a few wing beats to land on a leaf. (So, yes, it’s quite alive.) And as if watching over us, it stays there for the rest of our time. I don’t know about you, but butterflies I’ve known don’t generally attach themselves to people.
The air was bright with magic that otherwise simple afternoon. You could almost see it. We all felt it. For all I know there might have been ninjas there too.
Here’s a little bit of it captured. (With gratitude for the universe conspiring to bring us together.)
All photos © Lacey Marie Photography
May 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
[Yes, two Mother’s Day posts today! Because it’s become a bit of tradition, I share this one as I have in years past.]
When I was a little girl, my mother was “my world”. She did all the things you’d expect a mother might do, like hold your hand, read you a story, fix meals, teach manners, dry tears, cheer you up and on. She also loved to laugh. She loved to give. She loved life, and tried to worry only on Tuesdays.
And while she left this world too soon, she left gifts. Cherished, timeless words; gifts from the heart, mind and spirit.
So on this day reserved for mothers, I’d like to share some of those words, from one of her books of poetry, The Pine and The Power. I share them with love, in honor and life-giving celebration of mothers near and far, here or remembered.
God help our children to transcend the dark
And walk the earth with dignity and cheer;
God help them seek the mountains, persevere
The road that twists through thorn and tanglebark,
Ascending finally where eagles mark
Their point of vision. Help our children find
Two masters ~ one the spirit, one the mind ~
And rediscover constancy of heart.
Help us to find cathedrals in the skies,
A will to walk the long uncharted mile;
(The will to find in winter’s legacy
The ochre sands from which the lime trees rise!)
Help us to know the measure of the child ~
To live in time and in eternity.
© Carolyn Naught Saxton
May 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
She’s a champion. A warrior. A magician. She’s tender, she’s tough, she’s imperfect and wise. She loves you when you’re winning, she loves you when you’re losing. She loves you whether you’re muddy or clean, too skinny or too fat, whether you’re cranky or witty or dull or smart.
She’ll hold you tight and dry your tears, cheer you on, teach you right from wrong, suffer your eye-rollings, worry and pray, and burst at the seams with pride.
And when it’s time to fly with your own shiny wings, she’ll hold you in her heart, forever and ever. (She’ll also still cheer you on and worry and pray, so don’t forget to call her. Often.😉 )
Happy Mother’s Day! And remember: “If at first you don’t succeed, do it like your mother told you.” – Author Unknown
April 10, 2016 § 2 Comments
It takes a long time to make a book. Particularly challenging when your models have very large claws and tend to breathe fire. But the work is done; the wait is over – the restless beasts (and restless author/illustrator) are thrilled that their book is now out into the world.
With great pleasure I bring to you “Book of Dragons” – the third book in what has become my trilogy, of sorts, of mystical creatures. (Mermaids, then Fairies, now Dragons.) Along the way I came to know a few dragons quite well, and learned a lot from them. (They really like classical music, for one thing – who knew?) I hope you and the children you know will enjoy learning about them, too!
I’ll keep you posted about upcoming book signings and/or events. In the meantime, you can head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy!
April 7, 2016 § Leave a comment
Everyone likes a great review. When you’re published by a small independent publisher, you appreciate them even more. And so, I send my heartfelt thanks to all who’ve written reviews for my books over at Amazon.
I love the 5-starred ones best (of course!), but they say “no review is a bad review”, so I appreciate them all – even the one about the fairy book illustrations being scary. (That had to be my favorite “negative” review. Because, really?)
And as I’m soon to launch a new book, I’ve got books on the brain. (Well, sure, I often have books on the brain, between writing them, reading them, and designing covers for others – but today, even more so.) So I wanted to send out a nudge to anyone who’s a fan of any of my 3 current books or my mermaid toy, encouraging you to head over to Amazon and write something sweet.