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Sense of Wonder

I love the way astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson presents information with humor, while advocating we maintain a sense of wonder.  Most of our experiences are new when we are children, so the wonder is always there.  It gets harder to find as a grownup.

I read an article today about a speech he gave recently.  A six year old boy asked the question, “What’s the meaning of life?”  So Dr. Tyson responded, “I think people ask that question on the assumption that meaning is something you can look for, and then, ‘Oh, I found it!  Here’s the meaning, here’s what it is.’  And it doesn’t consider the possibility that maybe meaning in life is something that you create, that you manufacture for yourself and others.”  He continued,  “When I think of “meaning in life,” I ask, “Have I learned something today that I didn’t know yesterday?  Bringing me a little closer to all that can be known in the universe.  Just a little closer, however far away all the knowledge sits.”

 

Years ago, I was coming back from an art exhibit and a song by Van Morrison came on the radio.  The name was “Sense of Wonder.”  The arrangement of that song, his voice, and background vocals captured perfectly the feeling of those words.  I went out and bought the CD (by the same name).  I listened to it just today, and the artistry comes across as brilliantly as the first time I heard it.

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Lately, rather than sticking with one art piece until I’m finished with it, I’ve been working on a few things at the same time.  Sometimes I’ll put one aside, so I can ruminate on it a little till I decide what direction to go.  And, I’ve dragged out some that I started some time ago, to see what new ideas I can come up with for them.

A small piece using a variety of materials.  Still in progress.

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A small acrylic on paper.

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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

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Live Everything

LA has gone from momentary rushes of winter a few days ago to full on COLD air in the 30’s.  Pretty exhilarating for us Angelenos.  Even Maggie, Lucy and Charlie needed sweaters.

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I’ve always been a person to ruminate on life and it’s unanswerable questions.  But ultimately, I think the goal is to ruminate less.  Here is something written by Rainer Maria Rilke, a poet/novelist who lived from 1875 to 1926.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…Do not…seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will…gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

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Check out the beautiful Walt Whitman poem Oh Me! Oh Life! on Dispatch from LA, the blog of Mary Ann Moss.

 

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Beautiful Day

There are two Getty Museums in Los Angeles.  One of them overlooks many parts of LA.  The other overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  Today I went to the one overlooking the Pacific.  From Santa Monica, you have to go north on Pacific Coast Highway.  Here is a painting I did many years ago of some bluffs in Santa Monica above the highway. The location at the top is very popular for strolling or jogging. The photo I painted the picture from was taken on a cloudy day, but today was bright sun and the ocean was sparkling.

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It was so bright it was difficult to get a shot facing the ocean.

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This Getty has Greek and Roman antiquities.  The marble to build it (originally the residence of J. Paul Getty)  was all brought from Italy as well as all the plants.  There are fountains and columns and as many things to wonder at outside as there are inside.

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This next picture is of a marble gravestone from Athens dated 320 BC.

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Below is a Roman glass vase dated AD 50-100.  Amazing that it has not broken with all that it probably went through, along with many other pieces that were still intact.

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Here is a statue of a Harp Player made from marble during the early Cycladic period.  The date on it is unbelievable.  2700-2300 BC.

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All of the planted areas at the Getty are very manicured but lovely.  But my favorite is the small and less manicured herb garden with it’s very Italian looking grapevine.

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I am fortunate for such a beautiful day to be out driving along the coast and soaking up not only the sunshine but the inspiration that comes from ancient art.

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Celia Thaxter was a poet and short story writer, but also created a garden on a tiny island off the New Hampshire coast that became the subject of her book, “An Island Garden.”  The book was written in 1894, and after Celia’s death the garden went through many changes, but in 1978 was restored using the detailed plan in her book.  “An Island Garden” is filled with delicate Impressionistic paintings of the garden’s old fashioned flowers by the artist Childe Hassam.  Many years ago I picked up the daybook that accompanies it.  There is space for diary type entries as well as quotes from Celia on flowers and some of Hassam’s paintings.  I have used it to write descriptions of particular days when the sky, clouds, air, and sun have come together to produce exceptionally gorgeous days.  It causes me to take special note of those moments by putting them into words

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Flowers are a popular subject for artists.  I have used a variety of mediums in attempts to reproduce their colors and shapes.

Here I used acrylic paint with stamps I made on recycled cupboard doors.  I got the doors from Habitat for Humanity’s Restore.  It is a great place to find recycled anything for your house or yard, and you are contributing to Habitat.

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Fabric applique of flowers in vases.

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Acrylic on canvas.

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I went to a local painting exhibit today.  The friends that I went with and I are in a book club/art club.  Once a month we go to an art exhibit and once a month we get together to discuss a book or short story we have selected.  We choose a lot of classical literature which introduces us to authors that we haven’t read before.  Since this post is about flowers, I took some pictures with flower themes at the exhibit, along with a few others I liked.

The painting below is titled Vence Roses by Pat Wooley.  Mixed media.

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Voice of Spring by Dawn Quiones.  Mixed media with collage.

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The Old Lace by Nino Neiman.  Watercolor.

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Mountain Horse Returns Home by Julia Chu.  (I picked up some reflections in this, but the collage work was wonderful).

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Under the El by Jan Godachy.  Watercolor.

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Palisades by Eve Pericich.  Collage.

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I had to include this one because I had three shelties who have passed away.  I think of them often.  Bailey by Veronica Sin.  Watercolor.

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Even if you don’t paint, looking at people’s ideas expressed through their work is so inspiring. Painters use a wordless language that makes you feel something very personal, remembering an experience you’ve had or reminding you of an experience you would like to have.  Go and look when you get the chance.