Category Archives: Art

Valentine’s Day Win My Heart Contest! The Sunshine Heart……

“Yes,”she said. Then “Good Grief…OMG!”
Today, as I was looking over the entries to the “Win My Heart Contest”, I re-read the original contest post and found the ONE BIG MISTAKE! Yikes! I’m not perfect! I am human! (Hurray!)
The mistake is here. Click on the word here (underlined) or just read this paragraph from that page:
What’s the prize?
A set of 4 Heart blank note cards – a $15.00 value – using images from the series of heart stones. Entries must be posted in comments by Thursday, February 16th, 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Winners will be announced and correct answers provided on Monday, February 19th. Good Luck and have fun!

OOOOOPS! Today is Sunday, February 19th. It was supposed to say “The winners will be announced on Monday, February 20th!”
What to do? Stick with the plan… The winners will be announced here on Monday, February 20th. Hmmmm…. over 400 people read my blog since Tuesday… and no one mentioned the mistake or questioned the dates… I guess I am not the only proofreader who is human and misses things.

Isn’t it nice to be human? My sincere apologies to anyone who came here today looking for the contest results. I know you are sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out the answers to the questions and who the lucky prizewinners are. One more day, thank you for entering and your patience.
My plans for the day include enjoying the Sunshine. For now, here is the yellow sunshine heart from the series… it’s an imperfect quickie, showing what can be done with a happy heart, a light-hearted approach, with a little help from my winged friends… Some days my heart just glows and grows wings.

A Sunshine Heart Glows Light GrowsWings

Imperfect yes, and sometimes we just keep flying… playing in the light. (Photo note: This photo is not re-touched or altered in any way. Thus – a bit askew…)
See you tomorrow! May your day be filled with Light and your heart take wing, too!
Namaste ~ StarBear
copyright 2012 Betsy Lewis

“Win My Heart” Contest Ends Today!

You have until 6:00 PM EST to enter the “Win My Heart” Contest.
This is fun! I regret not having done something like this sooner… and all is well.

The First of the Series...

The first heart in this series began as an experiment for photographs. After building the First Big Stone Heart on the beach in 2009 (and having it disappear in a storm, as expected, and after the physical death of my beloved big sister not long after) I wanted to find a way to express my love of the beach, of being at the beach, my gratitude for the Healing Waters of Lake Superior and the wonderful people I have shared it with in my life, and not least of all those who share my life! During the relatively short-lived existance of the that heart, which was about two months, a number of friends photographed it, with people they loved standing, sitting, dancing, lying on it… we had a lot of fun with it. I kept thinking about it… how could I make it available to more people – this fun, this love, this joy. Finally, in the summer of 2011, I made the first non-vanishing stone heart. Little did I know…

It took some time to figure out how to make it – and still allow it to look like stones hanging together the way beach stones cluster naturally, piling up on the beach. I watched stones, water and waves working together. I finally realized that as I watched nature at work, I was also learning from her/him, Spirit~ Art imitating nature in ways I never learned in an art class. I have used the lessons learned from watching the waves stack and organize stones… which I cannot yet fully explain in words. It is random and not random. It has to do with size shape, edges, textures, weight, water motion, weather and energy. Some days similar stones form groupings, in breathtakingly beautiful arrangements, some simple, some complex, sometimes mixing colors, sometimes keeping them monochromatic. I watched I listened I worked in the beach studio… I arrived at a possibility.

Stone Washed Heart!

Taking that first non-perishable heart back to the beach, I have taken many photographs of it, letting waves, sand and other stones wash over it. This one heart is NFS. It is in the photo from yesterday, one of the 22. (Contest Hint – you can count the stones in today’s photos.)

It was a simple experiment, which eventually pushed me into making many more, now somewhat refined, simplifying the process (with some missing from photo – already sold and gracing other lives). People saw that first one and started asking for their own! While at first it seemed an artificially contrived device, just for photos, the hearts express own my love for Nature and Joy in Life and are taking on a life of their own. Each stone represents a piece of my heart and the people I love and have loved, different, individual, similar… making a whole and happy heart… seems quite natural, now.

The original was almost washed away as I photographed it… more than once, since in Lake Superior’s big waves it is very light! Retrieving that first heart sometimes meant mad dashes into the Big Lake… laughing and keeping the camera held high. Listening to the rhythm of the waves saved my behind (and camera) on more than one shoot… after awhile one can hear a big wave approaching. That, too, is part of the lake learning or life learning and being connected to it all… listening.

Stones, Bubbles, Sand and Waves...

This work that I do, which some may call play, brought this song to mind today.

The recording is 40 years old, my hearts are young and made from ancient stones.
This work/play is part of my purpose in life, bringing joy to myself and others.
It makes me feel like a Natural Woman, deep down, in my heart.
Makes perfect sense to me… 🙂 Listening, watching, learning, loving… does life get any better than this?

Love Bubbles...

May your life and heart bubble with love… every day is Valentine’s Day!
Namaste ~ In Joy! Star Bear

Related Posts:
Contest
Big Stone Heart ~ Love from Lake Superior
A Little Heart Shared Cross Country
One of my Studios
Beach Work
Beach Dancing
Watching Washing Stones

Happy Valentine’s Day! Win My Heart! Really!

Having fun with Love on Valentine's Day!

To enter the contest read on ~ How to have a little fun on Valentine’s Day…

Valentine’s Day – a day on the Calendar created for Universal Agreement that to have a special person in your life, a lover, a special partner is the thing to do or … you get to feel bad, feel alone, be sad, feel left out, unloved? Blah, Blah, blah… I say Celebrate You and your love for yourself, your friends, your family. Celebrate being, Celebrate breathing, Celebrate this beautiful Earth – and being who you are and able to do what you love.

I get to “do” lunch with a friend I always have fun with, surprise a few other friends, wish my Granddaughter a Happy Birthday and sing a song to her on her phone. I get to go to a job I love and particpate in the NoCZ challenge…. and I get to post the progress I have made on my Stone Heart Series… 22 stone hearts. I loved making these. I loved gathering the stones from the beaches nearby on Lake Superior (on warmer days).
Each stone collected for it’s individual beauty, carefully selecting the stones for each heart, making little relief sculptures, and thinking of people I love or who were at the beach with me as I collected stones. I will love selling them, too…. as a way to share the beauty of stones, the energy of stones, the love the planet gives us in the form of beauty in the simplest things… stones.

Want to win a set of my hearts? Three people can win – just answer one of these questions in the comments:
1. How many blog posts on my blog include heart images? (Hint: the first one tells how and why I made the first Big Stone Heart and the second one is here – How and why I made the second small stone heart.) There are more posts – if you like playing detective, this one is for you. How many of my posts include heart images? Not hearts, posts. In the event of a tie, the first correct answer posted in comments wins.
OR
2. How large did the the first Big Stone Heart measure? (Statistical readers and researchers for facts may love this one.)
OR
3. Guess the total number of stones in the 22 hearts in the photo. Do NOT count the natural heart stones scattered between the hearts. Closest guess to the actual # wins – and in the event of a tie, the first entry posted in the comments wins! (Bean counters and mathamaticians may do well here.)

Please enter only once. One prize will be awarded for each of the 3 questions – for a total of three prizes.
What’s the prize? A set of 4 Heart blank note cards – a $15.00 value – using images from the series of heart stones. Entries must be posted in comments by Thursday, February 16th, 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. Winners will be announced and correct answers provided on Monday, February 19th. Good Luck and have fun!

Have fun this Valentine’s Day! Invite a friend to enter the “Win My Heart” contest, too.
There’s more than enough love to share!

After the contest, the stone hearts are for sale. The largest hearts are 6″ x 6″, the medium are 5″ x 5″ and the smallest are 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2 “. Before the week is out I will have individual photos and prices up for each. They are each handcrafted with sculpted finished backs, they are nice to hold in your hands. Feeling the stones feels good. They are wonderful to meditate with, look at, hold, get in touch with nature.

Namaste ~ StarBear

P.S. This is way out of my comfort zone!

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