Monthly Archives: January 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Hope ~ NoCZ 2012

Hope

Where there is love, hope abides.
Where there is light, hope lives.
Simple. I like simple.

Namaste ~ StarBear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Simple Elements ~ NoCZ 2012

Elemental Building Blocks

We live in a simple world, made of simple elements. Air, Water, Fire Earth. Earth, Wind, Fire, Water. Breath, Breathing…
I live in a friendly, abundantly beautiful universe. (Oh yes, I judge… LOL! It’s our job…! Yes, I can have opinions…)

Is this a photo of sunrise or sunset? Does it matter? I saw this view and at first thought of building blocks… they could be stone and yet they are snow. Is this a wall being built or falling down? Does it matter?

Simple elements, arranged in order by nature, Air, Fire, Water, Earth… Grounded and uplifting. How can this be? Dichotomous.. light dark rising falling … so simple, so mysterious.

I saw the repetition of shapes – in the line along the top of the blocks, softly repeated in the light, and then again in the darker sky… and in between the blocks a tiny spot of light, a dot where the rising/setting sun punctuated a sentence of gorgeous light.

The very first handmade book I made contained one poem and a simple drawing in blue on white: “It’s all right for there to be some places left in mystery…”

Is it sunrise or sunset…? you get to choose. What if it is both? What if it a just the pigment of your imagination, or mine? What is real, anyway?

Yesterday, as I was leaving for work, I took a moment to hug a neighbor, who hugged me back with warmth and love, even though it was 20F outside. The bark was warm against my cheek and body and we were happy ~ together. I clearly heard “Thank you for your kindness.” Surprised, I drove to work singing and the rest of my day was filled with love.
Yes, it’s alright for there to be some places left in mystery… and out of my comfort zone once again. Telling the truth. Yes, I talk to trees, and they speak to me from roots deep in the earth. When I am grounded, I can stand tall and reach for the sky… and breathe. Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Elementary, my dear, Watson.

May your day be filled with simple, mystery, choices, surprises… love.

Namaste ~ StarBear
copyright 2012 Betsy Lewis

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Simple ~ NoCZ 2012

 Possibilities... somewhere seeds

Simple - Beach Grass + Snow

This week’s photo challenge is Simple.
I like simple. Simple is easy – for me. KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly!

The NoCZ 2012 Challenge of week 1 has not been forgotten… posting some of my favorite photos, those I consider simply beautiful. This photo, taken on a sunny snowy day, minimum wind, allowed the snow to stay on top of the seeds. I saw this and thought once again of the changing seasons, and how each one holds possibilities for the next. The frozen seeds eventually blow and land somewhere on the beach, plant themselves and grow, repeating cycles. A simple image with sun, water, life, all in a light moment.
NoCZ 2012 week 2 – sharing my work more, with more people. Locally, orders now taking more time to finish and I feel so slow…. even with 2 snow days and much snow plowing.
Week 3 – without stating it, which now I do, is to let people know my work is for sale and how to purchase…. which has been fun and problematic. How to get it done and delivered, while I work, plow snow, and allow for drying time. It is all becoming part of a discipline process, and more baby steps. One thing at a time.
Week 4 – This week, acknowledging others including myself, saying thank you to followers, customers, friends.
Writing – a bio, vitae, for publicity purposes at work, I found myself saying things about me that were true and yet it was challenging to sing my own praises…. and yet I found the words. ‘A graduate of … and … an internationally collected artist, still maintaining an actively creative studio working in a variety of media, and has been recognized as an innovative teacher…” Credentials. Credibility.

That was not so simple. I like simple, and yet no one here knew. I always believed my work would speak for itself and I was to be invisible. Not any more, I guess. My work travels ahead of me. I recently realized and stated aloud… I am now allowing my art work to create itself… conciously, and allowing myself to be more myself. I call it having fun.

Life can be simple and fun when we allow it… May your day be filled with simply being. Thank you for reading, acknowledging, getting personal.

Namaste ~ StarBear

Endless Possibilities – NoCZ 2012 ~ Postcard from my Dream

With so many new followers and friends online, sometimes it seems difficult to keep up, stay connected, respond. The NoCZ 2012 Challenge continues, the Kreative Blogger Award wants attention, work calls, the next round art art classes, beginning January 25th, required final planning, and my studio work continues. Ahh, at one time it seemed like overwhelm… and then a blessing appears – a snow day.

Missing in Action? In Action!

Have I been missing in action? Not this time, simply in action in my studio and at the Library. Life is shifting, moving changing… quickly. New artwork in stone, requests for more, people placing holds on pieces yet unfinished! Ideas generating and being manifested as quickly as pieces can dry, more quickly, sometimes.

Yes, I write. Yes, I make up stories. Yes, I am a photographer, artist, writer. Yes, I make art. Yes, I teach. Yes, I learn. Yes, some say I am not focused. Yet, I feel very focused. I have 20 new stone pieces nearly completed… they will be finished this week! They will be photographed and sold. The photographs will morph into greeting cards, magnets, posters. Some will have writing added. Yes, I can and do multi-task. Saying YES!

It may seem as though I am on a heart-kick in my stone pieces, these are simply experiments for larger pieces – stepping stones, baby steps. While I multi task, I find that I must work with my hands, to shape, build, give form to objects. Working with recycled materials to make molds, casting multiples to satisfy a growing group of collectors. No two hearts or circles are alike, each contains a different combination of unique stones, a variety of colors, shapes, sizes. Not unlike people… and some are created while thinking of people I love.
Are they Valentines? For some they are. For me, every day is a Heart Day, a Love Day… and each day goes full circle. My heart and my time, my love of nature, the beach and the beauty of ancient energy, captured in simple shapes and simple stones.

They are for sale – the stone pieces. Prices start at $25.00 USD and go up from there… As I finish each one, I will share them individually and note if they are sold, for sale, with sizes and prices… for now a shot of my wonder filled work table in my studio at home. I have stones, thousands of stones, sorted by color, type, and size – in muffin tins, boxes, plastic drawers. What a gift, living so near the endless source of abundance… I am so blessed… and possibility is endlessly opening new doors.

Oh! and a P.S. to ‘Throw your heart out in front of you and follow it…’
That very day I saw these words on my friend Dennis Fairchild’s Star Struck:
“Follow your heart and take your brain with you.” ~ Play it to the end 🙂

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Related Posts:
Blessings from Marge

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Launch

Horse Launch

Continuing with my favorite photos, searching for weekly photo challenge images “Launch”, and to fulfill part of the Kreative Blogger Award guidelines of sharing 10 things about myself, this post has turned into a 3-fer! Whew! Multi-tasking?

Thank you, Jackie

Thank you, Jackie, for the Kreative Blogger Award.

About this photo: One of my favorite photos, Horse Launch, was taken at a Three Day Event in Michigan – Horses and riders launching themselves over big jumps, walls, into water. Horses and riders working in partnership, trusting and communicating. (This is not a photo of me – one of the “rules” I learned from great horsepeople is to only ride as fast as you could think and respond. My thinking and response time was faster with my camera than on this type of course or horse.)

10 things you may not know about me:
I love horses, have always loved horses, and somehow have been involved with horses for much of my life. At one time I was owned by a horse farm, lived, breathed, smelled, groomed, rode, jumped, nursed, mended, cared for horses. I also shoveled a lot of manure, taught riding lessons, judged small horse shows, trained a few horses and was always taking lessons, attending clinics, learning. I learned so much being with horses and horse people. I was owned by many horses. I had great partnerships with some of them, and those horses… well, we took each other on many adventures, launches, falls, leaps. I was probably a horse or horse keeper in a past life. I still own a Norwegian Fjord Horse, born at my farm. She has a job some ways away from where I live – as a therapeutic riding horse. We are both living our dreams!
Is that one thing or 10?
Living with horses was a dream, a goal, from the time I was little. It was a challenge, a joy, and I am no longer owned by a horse farm or horses.
New challenges arrive every day, and they are just as exciting and fulfilling as living with horses. They are different and so am I. Every day is a launch or a re-launch forward into life. When learning to jump with horses over big jumps, the trainer told us to “throw your heart out in front of you, over the fence and follow it”. I never forgot that lesson, and still didn’t always do it. (…and that was usually when I landed in mud or flat on my face! LOL!)

Yet, it seems good advice for life, too, don’t you think?

Namaste ~ StarBear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Launch ~ NoCZ 2012 ~ Baby Steps

Baby Steps

Launch. Sometimes a launch is tiny. A Baby Step. Baby Steps… putting one foot in front of another, moving forward. Is a launch always upward or can it be simply movement? Sometimes it’s a leap of faith and one foot just shoves off and we leap. How fun to be leaping with others again this year!

About this photo: On a sunrise beach walk, I found two sets of footprints heading toward the water, unclear in dry sand. One set of large footprints, one set of tiny, side by side. I imagined a small child, walking hand in hand with a parent or grand parent, then frolicking on the beach in the early morning light. There was a single tiny footprint, clear, near the edge of the water, untouched as yet by the washing waves. The child allowed to explore, then called back, perhaps, away from the water, kept safe.
The image and words were a gift to my friend Usha, in California, as we launched our dreams together and laid out our plans for the year 2012 – back in 2010. We spoke on the phone and in class, and she had the most beautiful, kind, joyous voice and laugh. We are both creating our dreams, grounded, one step at a time.

The Gift: If you are doing the NoCZ Challenge or not ~ Print it out if you wish. Carry it with you, put it on the fridge. Remember to be patient with and kind to yourself and others as we take Baby Steps or leap into new territory…. and remember to laugh at the water’s edge! Jumping in – the water feels great!

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Winter ~ More Snow Color + NoCZ 2012

On the Road to Dreams...

On the Road to MyDreams in Frosted Snow Color

Closer to the Dream!

Further Along the Road to My Dreams in Frosted Snow Color

This may not seem like part of the No Comfort Zone 2012 Challenge, yet it is, for me.
I have avoided posting my best work online, for many reasons… and as part of my No Comfort Zone Challenge, I decided to share some of my best and favorite images. After all, if no one sees them, how can they purchase them? LOL!

As I began to think about posting these winter photographs, I realized that I have been afraid to post some of my favorite photos. Some of them are really wonderful. Some are incredibly beautiful! (Some, like “Snow Color” sell like hotcakes, when they are seen. LOL!)

I have been afraid that someone would take them and use them without acknowledgement, credit, paying for them… (F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real)
The Evidence? I have had numerous photos mysteriously appear on other websites without credit or payment, then a friendly neighbor even downloaded a set of 4, framed them, hung them in her home, then invited me to dinner. When I saw the poorly printed lo res prints hanging in her living room, I went ballistic. I felt so betrayed! Then I gave her a signed print for Christmas that year, because I didn’t want badly printed crappy work out in the world… and because she had been a good friend.

I had this THOUGHT: I can’t trust people, especially intelligent friends who disrespect copyrights. If a knowledgeable friend would do this, what about strangers, net surfers, those I don’t even know. So I have been afraid to trust people when it comes to my work. Not trusting one person can mean trusting no one. It can mean I don’t trust myself, either. Turning it around. I am afraid to trust others, including myself. Turning it around, others are afraid to trust me. Turning it around again, I am afraid to trust me. Turning it around again, if I can’t trust the people closest to me, who can I trust? Turning it around again, I am afraid to trust the person closest to me – me. It is kind of like being a little bit pregnant. You either are or are not. I either trust or I don’t. Yes or No.

False Evidence Appearing Real? Yet… many others love my work and want to see it hanging in their homes or offices or give it as gift. They are willing to buy it, wait for the prints or jpegs to arrive, send money, give credits, and when their art arrives with checks they include wonderful love notes like “Your images feed my soul.” “You see things differently than any one else.” “Please, keep sharing beauty with the world.” “Your photographs are so beautiful.” “You have such a gift for seeing.” “I love your images…” “Thank you for bringing such beauty to light.” “My friend will love this gift..” “You don’t charge enough…” “Your work, art work is a service to people…” “No one else photographs, captures that place the way you do…”

Just this week, another blogger Orel, who also has beautiful nature and snow photographs from Scotland, said: “Starbear, I think you just posted the most beautiful picture I’ve seen on wordpress so far. I mean it. This line is pure and perfect. Too bad I can’t enlarge it. I wish you a happy new year!” (Sensuous Snow Curve)

Sometimes I am afraid to let the good stuff in, and dwell on the stuff that is uncomfortable. Sometimes, I’m also afraid to let my good stuff out. This is the good stuff… and I am open to receiving the good stuff.
(Oh how we judge… good, bad, better, worse…)
That’s why posting these is an act of courage, for me. I trust. I trust myself to share my work. I trust others not to take it, and if they do? I can protect it by posting small images, add watermarks, add copyrights. Sometimes I do give it away, just because I want to, with love. Some people will take it without asking, some will buy it, others will say nice things about it, others will criticize it. Those who take it will not get the best. Those who ask, will. We can always work something out. I don’t like being mean. Trust me.

What I want is for people to love my work and respect my gift. What I want for me is to love my work and respect the gifts I have been given and share them and I also want more financial freedom to be able to give of myself freely, with love, and making loving choices. I have forgiven my friend; I have renamed her “Opportunity to Love.” We are no longer close. Lesson learned in the classroom of Life. If I can’t trust myself, who will trust me?

I will continue to post my favorites, some of my best. Stay tuned!
If you would love to purchase a print for yourself or as a gift, check out the SHOP. Almost all of the images on my blog are available as signed prints. Instructions for purchasing are in the Shop link above and at the top of the page.
Bottom Line: I trust me. If you read this far, I trust that maybe you found another beautiful gift here, too.

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Winter ~ Snow Color

Snow Color

Namaste ~ StarBear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Winter x 3

More of my favorite images. Today I offer 3 – For me, they represent some of the beauty I see, share, create, notice… in Winter Water…

Sunset Reflections on Winter Water

Sunset Reflections on Winter Water

Is it Snow? Clouds? I call it "SnowClouds"

Winter Water sand and stone. I call it " Rippling Gold"

I have long known that water is important to me.
I recently realized:
Winter Water is fascinating, frozen… still, melting, rippling
Spring rain is enchanting… musical
Summer Water is refreshing… relaxing
Fall Water is cleansing… recycling, reflecting
We could rearrange the words and seasons and they may still be true…
I am fascinated by the change of seasons and water and how it affects everything in my life. I depend on water. For me, Water represents flow, change, clarity, thirst-quenching….
In Winter, I am surrounded by Winter Water in the form of snow.
In Spring the Winter Water melts and flows.
In Summer it rains and dries up and then rains once again.
Fall downpours take down the leaves from the trees and helps begin the cycle of re-cycling, keeping leaves wet to disintegrate, renew, nurture.
Then the cycle begins again.
Water keeps me connected…
Interesting how things work – congruity, synchronicity. As I was preparing to post these photos, I was checking in with mentors. Denise Linn is one and this showed up: How to Listen to Water

I love the seasons, nature, and the lessons I learn as a human bean, still growing and just simply being.
Namaste ~ Star Bear

For subscribers waiting for their Tips – Patience please. 🙂

Happy New Year ~ Winter 2 ~ Warm Welcome 2012!

Happy New Year - 2012

Welcome 2012! The local neighborhood party fireworks, set off early, around 7:30 PM, allowed families with kids to share the fun.

Seems like we're all kids at fireworks!

Seems like we're all kids at fireworks!

Dressing up for this party means warm clothes, arctic boots, good mittens and gloves, and an international selection of warm hats.
It also means neighbors, friends and strangers gathering around the bonfire, faces upturned, oooing, aaahing, cheering and applauding. A few chairs brought out into the cold to accommodate older folks, a little girl with a sled looking for a little hill or bump of snow to slide on, a family sitting in a warm car watching the fireworks like we watched drive-in movies… some folks arriving on snowmobiles, cabin dwellers coming out of the woods.

2012 ended with looking up!

Looking Up!

Before the fireworks some gathered in the garage – cleaned up and decorated yooper style – picnic tables with poinsettas, wreaths on the garage door. Food served off of workbenches cleared of tools and projects for the night. The snowmobile repair lift thing-a-ma-jig covered in plastic sheeting, held in place with dandy duct tape was the main serving table, overflowing with shrimp, chips, dips, veggies, hot meatballs, lasagna, cookies ~ you name it. Hot dogs cooked on the grill, fresh salmon steaks baked at the edge of the bonfire.
The fireworks set up had to be relocated – the wind had shifted from east to north. No problem for the pyrotechnical genius – adapting to the wind for safety.

Light from the fireworks gave everyone,
everything a pink glow, even the snow.


After the fireworks – eat, drink, games, laughter, stories, and more laughter. (More about Yooper games another day…)
I love the creativity of up north living. Is it fancy and elegant? Not particularly. Simple, practical and unusually creative, with some few of us wearing a touch of elegance covered up by layers of winter clothes. No high heeled sneakers here, no open toed sandals. A friend remarked – “I have so many layers on, if I fall I can’t get up!” Others comparing and sharing the bonuses of and patterns on knitted, fleece lined, Andes Mountain caps, known as Chullos, while laughing with a baby wearing a knitted bear hat…

Fire. Light. Warmth. Inside, a fire fed by wood in a double barreled wood burner – another creative endeavor. Outside – a bonfire, started, re-lit, re-lit again, until the blaze took off. Outside – Firelight and fireworks. A neighborhood brought together by one man’s vision of giving and bringing diverse people of all ages and backgrounds together for an evening of fire, light, and warmth, good food and laughter. Thank You, Jeff Ross, Mayor of a little no-place called Pine Stump Junction, part our home in the woods.

I came home chilly, tired, happy ~ Happy to have been able to witness and participate in the welcoming in of another New Year with people, friends and neighbors, some of whom I like, some of whom I love, some with whom I have had less than wonderful relationships. I met new people and hugged old friends and strangers. (More at the last post.

Are the pictures perfect? No, not really. Some are bright and beautiful. Some are clearer than others. Some are very blurry. Some have interesting light and are blurry. Some pictures of people and laughing kids came out not at all, except in my memory. No matter, this time. I went as a neighbor and friend, not the photographer. I took snapshots and awoke early on January 1st a happy woman with a very warm heart.
Happy New Year! Welcome 2012! It is going to be a year filled with Miracles and love, and so it is, already.

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Learn more about this remote area:
Winter Haven Motel
Newberry
Wikipedia – Newberry