Weekly Photo Challenge – Distorted

Heart Wash

I love the way water distorts and softens stone and color.
About this photo ~
While editing photos of the heart series, I stumbled upon this image taken of the first heart sculpture. I had taken it to the beach, tossed it in the sand at the edge of the water and watched the water at play. It is the same heart as seen on the “Contest Closes” post from earlier, (click here) taken on a different day, in different light and weather. When I saw this image again, I was impressed at the way the color washed through it and it became so painterly, full of color swirls and playful bubbles. Unedited, it was a delightful unplanned surprise when I shot it and again when I looked at it full screen. I am adding this to the list of my favorite photos for the NoCZ challenge.

Speaking of NoCZ 2012 – minimal posting – is uncomfortable for me and for now it is required as I rebuild my life. Oh, did I forget to mention that I am rebuilding my Life? LOL! My life fell apart when I wasn’t looking and I am starting over. The threads that have held it together have been art, love, nature, joy… so many pieces of art and loving, strung and twisted together like a necklace of pearls, on strings of joy and celebration – with little highlights of sadness and loss… maybe that’s a distorted view of life?

The question for the day for me is simply this: If one is living in the moment, being here, now, where does planning fit in? Planning, to me requires future thinking which seems contradictory to being here now… I have been living without a total life plan since 911… simply glad to be alive and cramming as much life into each day as possible. Oh yes, I plan, a little – what to eat, where to go, who to see, to some extent.

Yes,I have a vision, a dream and I’m realizing it slowly. The slowness is also causing discomfort, and yet I am patient. I am afraid I am not fast enough, yet speed is an illusion? An artist friend, a dear and longtime friend always says “It’s just a pigment of your imagination!” Meanwhile, life is what happens, even when we are making plans.

We live in either fear or love…. and that is a story planned for another day. For today, I love, I trust. May your heart be washed with color and love ~ and I trust you enjoy the image!

Namaste ~ Star Bear

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Indulge

Indulging in color ~ "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change" ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

Playing with color, indulging myself in experiments for teaching. Placing green on every color, including the original inspiration for the Evergreen Heart, the woods (far right center row).

For me the significance, symbolism for the Evergreen Heart include the cycles of seasons, green being spring, newness, restoration, renewal, living in the pines, cedars, the evergreen woods. Green – the color of new growth.

Others have come up with these thoughts about the green heart:
Green – as in Greenhorn, inexperienced
Green – with envy
Greenbacks – money
Green – a smooth place on a golf course containing the cup and flag
Green – environmentally friendly
Verde – verdant – fertile – productive
Irish perhaps

A green stone heart – for me, as I built it, it simply represented the wonderful place in which I live, the friends I love who love what I love, the woods, Nature, the beach, rocks, art, and my gratitude to Creator for guiding me to this magnificent place.
Green stones come and go on these beaches – This heart contains epidote, granite and Unikite and if you Google “Unikite” or “Epidote” you will find much more about the ancient energy of the minerals and stones I use… intuitively.

The same piece – heart or situation, placed on a different background, can be whatever you want… you can choose the way you let people see your heart and they will interpret it through their own filters, choosing to see what they choose or are trained to see. Green is a cool color, a balance of Yellow (warm) and Blue (cool).

Not my favorite image this time, just an example of how things can shift, set against different backgrounds. I like it against the warm pink – enriching the greens, bringing out the pinks, complementary.

Someone named Mr. Green asked about the symbolism of color, in response to the last post including this photo:

Evergreen

Sometimes I work methodically, analytically, as in the first photo. Sometimes I work straight from my heart, without thinking about all that, just going with intuition, feelings. These hearts, these hearts, are also experiments for something larger, so yes, maybe greenhorn is fitting, supported by a lot of experience… planted in fertile ground… LOL!

Whatever color our hearts, the background may change what others see, just know/grow your own and don’t worry about what others may see or think. 🙂 Choose the background that suits you and dance with your heart…

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Win My Heart! and the Winners are…

The original 22 hearts...

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest, read through my blog and waited patiently for the results and answers!

First to answer Question # 1 correctly was Paula with her answer of 9, which meant surfing my entire blog and counting the # of posts with heart images! Paula – Congratulations for your Perseverance!
Q 1 was “How many of my posts include heart images? Not hearts, posts.”

AND
Congratulations to Wendy Fedan for being the first to correctly answer Q 2: “How large did the the first Big Stone Heart measure?” Over 6 feet x 6 feet.

AND
Congratulations to Crowing Crone Joss for her very close guess of 658 stones in answer to Q 3, “Guess the total number of stones in the 22 hearts in the photo.”
The total # of stones in the 22 hearts is 720.

Please provide your mailing address by writing it in a comment, so I can get your prize mailed out to you! (Comments here are moderated and only I will see it, it will NOT be posted).

To everyone else who entered an answer or made a comment, Thank You!

In Sunday’s post I said “see you tomorrow” – and this is a day late. It seems I am very human and my body is reminding me of it. While out and about enjoying the sunshine, I took a very bad fall and landed on my backside ~ hard and creating a brief NoCZ. Taking care of myself included not sitting at the computer for the remainder of the day. So once again, I am sorry for the delay… and I am fine this morning… (Apple cider vinegar and Vitamin C didn’t help with this! LOL!)

Just for fun ~ the small green heart, which I call “Evergreen,” consists of a total 20 stones and contains 2 other heart stones, visible in this close up.

Evergreen


This image also gives you a pretty good idea of the actual sizes of the hearts. The small ones, like this, are 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ I will be writing about each heart over the coming weeks, as the heart series continues to unfold… slowly.

May all of your hearts be filled with love and joy!
Namaste ~ StarBear
Copyright 2012 Betsy Lewis

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