Quote Tuesday

Modern arrow with plastic fletchings and nock.

Modern arrow with plastic fletchings and nock. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards.
So when life is dragging you back with difficulties,
it means that it’s going to launch you into something great.
So just focus and keep aiming.”
~Unknown

The Past 24 Hours

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Please note that I actually wrote this post yesterday morning, so the title was appropriate. Since I am posting it today, technically, the title is more accurately, “My Last 48 Hours,” however, in this case, I assert artistic license.

The past 24 hours yielded a first for me. Through my burgeoning fascination with mixed media, I created my first mixed media pièce specifically for another person. The above photograph is of the piece that I presented to my husband for our 14th anniversary.

My husband, J., is notoriously difficult to shop for. When I buy a gift for someone, I search for an item that screams their name. I want the gift to let them know without a doubt that I did not choose it lightly, but especially for them. When they look at the gift, I want them to feel special. Over the years, I’ve found that so hard with J.

We have different likes and dislikes. We don’t read the same books, and J. has a broader knowledge of music than anyone that I know and I would never buy music for him. As a result, I began buying him gift certificates to Waterloo records, a well-known hometown Austin music store. He loved it, but after too many years of the same gift, it became predictable, and it was ripe for a change. Thereafter, the era of Amazon gift cards began. Once again, he loved it because it led him to discover obscure music from sellers from all over the world. Nevertheless, after a while, this, too, became unimaginative and impersonal. Thus, began my quest to find something distinctly for him.

Weeks leading up to our anniversary, I was struggling to come up with an perfect gift for him, when I stumbled across an ad that I’d torn out of a magazine years ago. (I find it amusing because it was actually a Pepperidge Farms ad.) It is notable because J. and I are a mixed-raced couple, and the man and woman in the ad, depicted that fact perfectly. At the time, I had no idea what I would do with it, so it sat unused for about 7 years. As I was working on another piece, I had a light-bulb moment and my anniversary gift. My love for painting and mixed media was the perfect answer, and with the ad in hand, I had the crucial part of the painting. But what to do with it and how to incorporate it into a painting?

I fussed with it from start to finish and with the exception of a few unintended mistakes, I am pleased with the outcome. In case you are wondering what the ‘white thing’ is in the top right of the piece, it is my very first attempt at painting a moon. I finished it on our anniversary and the hard part began: waiting to learn whether he would like it?

I am happy to say that he loved it. More importantly, he appreciated all the thought, time and effort that I put into it to make a one-of-a-kind gift for him. The look on his face was worth every minute. This was the best 24 hours that I’ve spent in a long time.

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Overcoming Challenges

August Full Moon

August Full Moon

September Harvest Moon

September Harvest Moon

One of the things that I’ve always longed to do is to take great photographs. I am not talking about “photographer-like” photographs, I am merely talking about photos that don’t chop the subject’s head off, are blurry, or a litany of other faux pas that create a less than desirable outcome. The desire became greater because my son-in-law was a professional photographer who makes it seem so easy.

When I decided to act on my wish, I learned that taking a good photograph was anything but easy. I still haven’t even mastered all the dials on my cameras, and still confuse ISO and F-stops, but I am forging on and not letting those impediments get in my way. As with learning to paint and draw, my mantra is practice, practice and practice some more. Having a goal is motivating as well.

The blogs that I gravitate to, are those where the blogger posts, with the written text, their own beautiful photographs. I’ve learned that one does not need special equipment, to take gorgeous photographs, as more than one, use their iPhones or other smart phones. Like them, I want photographs that are good enough to post on this blog.

From day one, the moon was my obsession. I choose the moon as a challenge meant for me to overcome. At first, one would look at my moon photos and see a tiny white speck on the screen. It was about the size of the head of a small pin. Frustration was my friend. Yet, I refused to give up. I tried and tried, and with time, the speck went from tiny to miniscule. It continued to grow.

Finally, in August and September, I finally managed to take the above photographs, which I feel comfortable enough to post here for you to see. Although they are a far cry from some of the amazing blog photos that I admire, I am proud that through my efforts, I’ve made this small step.

I am still far from good, and I intend to continue practicing when I can. I’ve mentioned before that “courage” is one of my words for 2014. Being courageous requires vulnerability, which I am doing by putting myself out there in spite of the fear of not being good enough and potential ridicule. With the photos that I’ve posted, I am becoming more courageous, and that reverberates through the rest of my life. I am also inspired by what mere intention may yield. Finally, this reminds me that with time and effort, we can do that which we previously thought insurmountable.

As I’ve done before, I will keep practicing to improve my skills, and continue to share my triumphs with you. I hope that you will celebrate my efforts with me. 

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Creative Writing Saturday

Dehra River Side

Dehra River Side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn’t,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn’t a-been so cold
I might’ve sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn’t a-been so high
I might’ve jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I’m still here livin’,
I guess I will live on.
I could’ve died for love–
But for livin’ I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry–
I’ll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine! ~ Langston Hughes

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