Tag Archives: humor

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

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Colorful

Colorful Meltdown

Colorful Meltdown


Dear Friends and devoted readers,
Today’s post is brought to you with a new shape. Imagine a square that is being pulled horizontally into a rectangle. That is the shape my photos and images are taking for now! Thus, no images. The past few days have been spent dealing with a computer failure.
Actually, the computer is fine. The monitor, however decided to fry itself, literally. As I was typing an e-mail, the view of the window suddenly changed to a distorted shape, like melting plastic, with rainbow colors all around the edges. Hopefully, and naively, I turned everything off, and rebooted. The distorted shape reappeared, now accompanied by the obnoxious stench of burning plastic or wires which seemed to be emanting from somewhere nearby.
Using colorful language, I immediately unplugged everything, and put the bloodhound nose to work. Yes, indeed. The smell was coming from the monitor. It is old. It is heavy. So with my adrenalin pumping, I was able to heft it off the desk and whisk it away to the nearest exit, declaring that if it did decide to burn, it would not be in my home office. The smell lingered, so windows open and ceiling fans whirring, I proceeded to thank my lucky star for some foresight. 3 years ago, when the monitor was acting just a wee bit balky, I had purchased a new ACER 22″ LED monitor. I had not used it, everything was still packaged.
Carefully following the simple directions, it was up and working in just a few minutes. Wow! Is it wide! The light weight is fabulous, and the small base and thin profile reduce the amount of desk space it takes up. Another bonus.

The downside – my S3savage4 graphics card is now incompatible. Adjusted settings, resolution, downloaded most recent driver. S3 graphics is no longer supporting this old card with new drivers. Do we want to know all of this? Of course not! I just want a computer monitor combo that works!
There are no computer stores within 100 miles, or friendly affordable techs… so I have given the information to knowledgeable friends, I hope, who are in search of answers.

Meanwhile, it was colorful. No time for a screen shot… so using only the x y coordinates and photoshop rulers, I offer this colorful rendering of the monitor meltdown squared. The e-mail looked sad as it faded… and the colors were like a melting rainbow…

Hoping any sadness fades quickly for you and may your week be filled with colorfully glad!

Namaste ~ Star Bear

My Digital Art, c.1976

Is this “Old-Fashioned” Art, yet?

Click for larger view

Digital System - circa 1976

Made by my hands in 1976, when the Digital Age was just coming into being. A friend had just spent a year studying at MIT, working on her MFA. Visiting my studio in downtown Detroit, she was all excited and concerned about what was being done with computers at MIT (probably before many bloggers were born.) We argued about those who were going to be left behind, creating a giant digital divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” as delineated by access to computers.

We laughed, discussed, argued, about the future of computers, the world, the economy, the environment. At about the same time, Bill Gates and his partner were creating Microsoft.
Were they watching our work? Listening? This piece is kinda micro-soft-y…

Micro fiber soft art - click for larger view

Micro-fiber Soft Art Digits-Detail

At the time, I was creating soft sculpture, with new micro fabrics – yet, old fashioned, one at a time, hand stitched. I sold a lot of art to collectors and institutions. I exhibited frequently and was even listed in the Who’s Who of American Art. (Under a different married name – it was after all, 1970’s… again, “Old Fashioned”)

For some reason I wanted to keep this piece… I found it funny, sensual, and a humorous quiet social statement. The blue and silver colors represent the cold steel and hard edges of the computer age, ironically rendered in soft materials. It always makes me laugh, reminding me that I do have a sense of humor…

Two seperate decimal systems in one small package!

Digital System dis-integerred... Even so, you can count on this back-up system!

It’s fun to play with, too. Seperate the pieces and you can “hold hands” with it while communicating on facebook, or if you want something warm and cuddly to touch!
Into toes? They’re here, too.
This piece is also very useful…. form follows function. When the power goes out or the computer crashes, this is a great back-up system… the original “Digital System.”

Digital Systen Vertival

Vertically, visually more fun... positve negative digits - in case of computer failure you can count to 40!

Only a few eyes have seen this piece… and now I reveal my “old fashioned” work to you. The piece is actually titled “Digital Systems”. That was the title from it’s inception.
It measures 18″ h x 9″w x 5″ deep when digits are inter-digitated and is ready to hang or sit. It is now for sale for $1,000.00 including shipping inside the U.S.!

I think it would be a great fit in a computer executive’s office. Maybe in the your office? In any event it is my humorous reminder of how we learned to count, the calculator always on hand.

Contact me if you are interested in purchasing this old fashioned “Digital System” as a gift for a friend or yourself! Leave a comment and your e-mail address will magically appear in my dashboard.
I will respond to any serious inquiries.

May your values stay old fashioned while your mind thinks new thoughts and you count your digits, err, blessings! 🙂

Namaste ~ Star Bear
copyright 2011 Betsy Lewis

Post-A-Day 2011 ~ Storm Warnings

As I listen to all the news about the “Big Storm” coming across the country and all the paralysis predicted, a part of me laughs. Twenty inches of snow, high winds, concerns about power outages, a part of me wants to dismiss it all as media hype and what is the big deal? It has been snowing on this planet for hundreds of years, people deal with it. We travel with emergency kits in vehicles all winter. Then I remember all the unique tips I forgot I’ve learned, living in snow country. For all those people who don’t live with snow and bone chilling temps on a regular basis, these may be useful and you probably won’t hear them on the news, amidst all the warnings.
Disclaimer: This information is to be used with discretion and common sense. Use these tips at your own risk. Keep the matches away from the kids.
If you were a Girl Scout or Boy Scout you may already know these things.

If you go outside, take off jewelry when it is below 20F and windy! Those pierced gold and silver earrings? Very pretty, I love mine, and when it gets cold enough and the wind chill drops, those precious metal earrings can cause freezer burn on your skin! Same is true if you have other facial piercings with metal jewelry.
Bet you didn’t hear that on the weather channel or the Today Show! There probably weren’t any warnings on the box they came in either. “Warning: Remove jewelry from exposed areas when the wind chill hits -10F” Remember the story of the kid who got his tongue stuck on the flagpole in winter? Same principle.

A 3″ (fat) candle burning in a metal coffee can will keep you warm in car or truck for hours. (You do need to light it, so matches are useful…)
Be sure to open your vehicle windows a crack before you light it and don’t put a lid on it…! You do need fresh air. Not quite like sitting in front of a fireplace, yet it could keep you from freezing to death. Also be sure not to set fire to anything in the vehicle.

Need to start a fire in an emergency if you get stuck in the woods or ditch and help is slow in coming?
A tip I learned from a logger (a big, burly tough guy):
Keep a Tampax in your glove compartment.
They make great emergency fire starters. Just ignite the string.
(It helps if you carry a few pieces of firewood, like we do…)
Stay safe. Enjoy the snow adventure. Keep warm! Remember the things you forget you know. 🙂 … and if you really want a belly laugh, imagine one of the news people trying to tell you about lighting the string on a tampon.

Namaste~ Star Bear

Post-A-Day2011 – Exposing myself

Reading other bloggers is inspiring. Today I visited Practically Twisted and discovered once more how many other artists and writers deal with being asked to work for free. No more giving it ALL away so often. I remember this line from “The Color Purple”. “Stop givin’ away all your shit!” Maybe I am becoming more forceful. Seeing purple? (It is after all a healing color…LOL!)
Harlan Ellison says it all very clearly, in words I have spoken. He says it clearly and forcefully!
Hearing the words “but it will be good exposure for you” one too many times prompted me to say quite clearly, “If I simply wanted more exposure, I could take off my clothes and run down Main Street. You know people can die from exposure!” I try to keep a sense of humor about it all – to a point.
A few years ago, I, too had a very brief career as a professional photo journalist.
After the publication of my poem (yesterday’s post) I was asked if I would be willing to write some short farmy feature articles for a newspaper. Yup.
After the first article was published I was paid – $40.00. It was short, so okay, I had agreed ahead of time to that. They liked my work and ideas so much they asked for more. I agreed to produce more. They loved them. They were popular… their readers responded positively. The last article I wrote for them was about an outdoor adventure with a local organization. I wanted to go on it anyway, so I did. After three days on the road (2 in the rain), interviewing people, documenting their adventure in words and images and joining in, I then wrote the story, which took three days of writing, selecting and editing photos and soggy notes.
When it was published, a full page plus, a lot of people called with positive feedback. The pay? Still $40.00. At that rate I figured it out – 3 days of expenses for travel, camera equipment, roughly 40 hours of writing and editing… what’s wrong with this picture? Less than 50 cents an hour, I quit. I made more baby-sitting as a teenager with few bills to pay!
$40.00 per article. That was their policy. Didn’t matter how many photos, how many words. $40.00. The saving grace in this story, I did sell a few photos to some of the adventurers from that last article, and will probably sell more. After I quit writing features for the paper, the editor offered to hire me – full time. A nice man, an excellent writer, who became a friend. The pay was modest. That was an issue and the bigger issue came when I asked what I would be expected to write about. The answer? Murder, accidents, court cases. “No thanks, ” I answered. “I intend to write about the positive things in the community. I believe that when we focus on the negative, for shock value or whatever, it encourages more. I want to encourage families to do things together, for people to appreciate this countryside and see the opportunities around us. Thanks, and no thanks.” He understood and I appreciate that. He said he envied me for not selling out.
As an editor he gave me support, encouragement and words I will never forget. “Everybody has a story. All you have to do is ask the question and listen.” Thanks, Tom, that was worth the $40.00.

Yesterday, I wrote “Why do we write? To remember, to capture a moment, a feeling, a smell of something or someone we love and then… to share it.” I also write and make art to be paid. Compliments and admiration are encouraging and do not pay the bills.

Yep. (and a note to my friends… don’t worry, yes, you will still receive gifts!)
May your day be filled with everything you deserve – we all deserve the best. Follow your bliss and be sure you keep your clothes on… most of the time anyway. 🙂

Namaste~Star Bear

Post-A-Day 2011 ~ Living with my Inner Critic

Staying home and being sick for 10 days is not my idea of fun… especially when one of my “roommates” goes on a tear.
This one’s name is I.C. and this is how it went for awhile today, while driving to work!
I.C.: “Here it is already January 13, 2011 and you have not shot a single photo since January 3rd…”
ME: “Right – and what day did I get sick and spend the night hugging the loo?”
IC: “Well, yeah – THAT was 10 days ago! You’ve been able to write a post a day since 1-09. Why haven’t you taken any pics? You haven’t been to work, you just sit and write or read or sip tea or take care of the dog or make soup, or talk on the phone or go to the bathroom or work on the computer or sleep. You are neglecting your camera!”
ME: “You forgot to mention snow plowing… 6 hours of snow plowing… plus the shoveling. Ms. Observant! You also forgot, coughing sneezing, watery eyes and nose blowing… You also forgot chills, fever, and tired.”
I.C. “You are so lazy! Get over it!”

Perhaps it is time for this Inner Critic to take a hike in the woods – and find the blueberries or something, maybe go shovel snow? Why is it that when we get sick or laid low, this Inner Critic decides to become a really healthy and noisy one?

Aha! Not enough to do! So… Here is my letter to I.C.
Dear Inner Critic of the Week,
Thank you for letting me know your opinions. I am really grateful for your wanting to contribute to my life. Sometimes your suggestions are helpful and I know you just want to be helpful in the best way you know how. For now, though, it may be time for you to take a break. A nice nap, perhaps?
Would you like to go someplace warm and play on the beach, take a vacation? I’ll help you pack.
Maybe you would like a new job? You could do the dishes, take out the trash, groom the dog, vacuum and dust, do the laundry, pay the bills, plow the snow. Perhaps if you took over some of the things I do, then perhaps I would have more time to do the things you think I should do.
Thank you for sharing and I appreciate your concerns. I am choosing to listen to a different voice today. With much love and little ado, so long!
I find it interesting that no matter what I choose to do, you love tell to me all the other things I should be doing. When I am shooting photographs, you tell me I should be cleaning the bathroom.
I do have a very urgent request! Please retire to the bathroom and clean something there, and while you’re at it take your shoulds with you. Better yet, dress warm and go out in the woods and redecorate the outhouse. You can should all you want out there and feed the red squirrels while you’re at it. They will appreciate your attention.
Thank you for paying such close attention to me. I am sure you’ll do a fine job on the outhouse. Have fun! I’ll see you in the Spring! Don’t forget your longjohns! Bye! Bye!
Thank you for sharing and I appreciate your concerns. I am choosing to listen to a different voice today. With much love and little ado, so long!
If none of those options suit you, please just go to the nearby beach. It’s quite lovely there with all of the ice… careful where you step!
Happy Trails!
Love, Me

Watch your step!

Icey beach for I.C. Watch your step!

Ode to Being Behind ~ On Time

2010 17 October
Ode to Being Behind

Can’t see my behind, although some do,
Some tell me it’s lovely, yet between me and you,
My behind is behind me, almost out of view.
Perhaps my behind is a dream overdue?

To see behind me means looking back,
Light is ahead, around me, on track!
At times it glows brightly, not growing black,
Sometimes a pale candle, seen through a crack.

Light leads me forward, in flashes and pops,
I wonder if turtles can learn to make hops?
Snails move forward and get where they go
Even when progress seems very slow.

I want to leap forward, to hop like a frog,
No longer stuck in the muck in a bog.
To follow a path, move forward with light,
with friends on this journey filled with DEELIGHT!

Am I behind, or moving so fast
That feeling behind is behind me at last?
Sitting down on behind, letting it rest,
Is a place where these sillies show up the best!

May your day be filled with joy and wonder and a new perception of time!
Starbear
copyright 2010 Betsy Lewis