Saturday, December 18, 2010

Eating to Live

Although I have never smoked or been addicted to alcohol or drugs, I have often overeaten, which could be viewed as a form of addiction - albeit a mild one, an addiction just the same.  Regardless of the type, addiction could be defined as a compulsive behavior which endangers your mental, emotional and physical health.  Often it is an emotional response to overwheming life issues or a traumatic occurence.

Overcoming an addiction requires time, patience, discipline and most of all, honesty.  You have to be honest with yourself as to why you overeat in the first place.  Certain reason don't count, such as: "Loving" food, liking to eat, liking to cook, "loving" food, liking to eat, liking to cook - you get my point.  It would be much easier to just say, "I'm overeating right now, and I"m unwilling to stop overeating right now."

If this is what you have chosen to say, you also must be willing to accept that overeating inhibits your spiritual development and your physical health.  More simply put, overeating puts a barrier between you and the higher power you say that you believe in, and it makes you gain weight - which can lead to illness and disease.

Having spent a great portion of my life as a thin person who became overweight following a traumatic, life- altering occurence, I have had to EXTREMELY SLOWLY deal with my feelings about how my body image relates to almost every aspect of my self, my spirit, my lifestyle and my LIFE.  Essentially, the choice to overeat is connected to almost everything else that we do - or don't do- with our lives.  KNOWING this is the easier part of letting go of overeating.  DOING something about it is the hardest part - HARD but NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

Food is pleasurable.  However, it is a fleeting pleasure that - when you really think about it - is different with each experience.  Each experience is sort of like a day - with the sensation of it being dependent on other factors, such as your mood, the environment, whether you're tired or not, the company you're around - and of course, the quality of the food.  This said, no matter how exquisite the taste, there are more enjoyable things in life.  Too much emphasis on the food means that there are deeper issues you need to deal with.

Here's how I'm dealing with food right now: Eating what I like in small portions only when I'm hungry.  Cooking for myself as a single person, which means cooking in small quantities (usually enough for 2 days).  Including fruits and vegetables in my meals.  Avoiding red meat, white flour, white sugar, fried foods, pastries, processed foods and coffee.  Not bringing into the house those foods that I simply cannot handle, such as gourmet cheeses, ice cream and chocolate candy.

Excluding these foods leaves an infinite variety of foods to choose from.  I enjoy eating, but do not like the experience of fullness and other problems that come from overeating.  While I realize that I am human, and will sometimes slip up, I also realize that nothing affects my health and well-being as much as what I choose to put in my body.  It's a day to day challenge, but it's worth my life.  It's worth quality of life. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Committing to My Art

"Objects of Healing Series" / Acrylic on Canvas / 48x53 cm

As an artist who views painting and creating other art disciplines as the great loves of my life, I have made a commitment to my work.  One might say that I am married to my work in that I regularly spend time producing it, learning new things about it, developing it and loving it.

Like any commitment, some days are better than others.  Yesterday was not a good painting day for me.  My painting session started out well with the first two hours generating an undistracted flow between brain, heart and brush.  I was in the zone where time passed without being noticed.

But then something shifted, and I don't know at what point it happened.  All I know is that I was now entering the third hour with a painting problem to be resolved.  Had I stopped earlier, even when my physical fatigue was less apparent to me, this problem might not have occurred, particularly so unusually early in the process.

If I were not committed to my work, I might possibly have scrapped the work in frustration and walked away.  But even though that does happen occasionally, this was not one of those times.  Experience has taught me to intuitively know when a work is worth saving - and most of them are - if you're willing to find solutions to problems that sometimes arise.  Patience is a critical asset to problem-solving in art, as is being disciplined in creating art.

Being an artist requires commitment, which means being with the work by doing the work.  An artist is a person who creates art - on a regular basis.  One painting a year doesn't count, and neither does that great painting you did ten years ago.  Furthermore, an artist must continue to paint even when the work is not going well.  This is how we learn and how we develop our work.

As I mentioned, development of our work will be one of many visible rewards of a pursuit requiring time, sacrifice, love, energy, creativity, patience, discipline, education, skill and ...commitment.    

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Preview of New Paintings

"After Franz Marc:  Blue Horses" / Acrylic on Canvas   

"Blue Moon Dancer"/ Acrylic on Canvas

"Family #1/ Acrylic on Canvas

"Objects of Healing #3/ Acrylic on Canvas

Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting Paid for Your Art #2

Long before most artists become professional, they have spent many years developing their craft through education, experimentation and practice.  Many have paid their dues in myriad ways when they enter the marketplace.  It can be daunting to discover that there are those who will try in different ways to either steal your work or own it without paying for it.

Before I actually sold any work, I had a few experiences where my art was stolen.  The first time was by a man my sister was living with.  When she asked him to move, he took with him the beautiful charcoal drawing I had given her as a birthday present.  The second time was when I gave my uncle, who lived in another state, a nude charcoal drawing.  When he died a few years later, the drawing disappeared from his living room wall during his funeral.

Later, at the beginning of my professional career, there were experiences where greedy people attempted to purchase my work at less than the asking price because they figured I would be hungry for exposure - which I was.  There were a few times when I made poor decisions based on my desire to have my work seen by a larger audience.

The first time was when I was asked do a painting for a local restaurant through two art "businesswomen" who knew the owner.  Had I been less naive, I would never have agreed to a transaction that involved a three-way monetary split.  With a bit more business savy, I would have approached the owner myself without a middle person - which I  now tend to do with better results.

The second time was when I sold a painting to a well-known person at a lower price than I felt the work was worth.  Again, getting more exposure was my reason for doing this.  

Perhaps the most insidious way that artists are cheated out of their work is through non-profit organizations who ask for art donations for charitable causes WITHOUT ANY OF THE PROCEEDS GOING TO THE ARTIST IF THEIR WORK SELLS!!!  Many of these organizations make it clear that the artist will "gain exposure" in various ways that will be beneficial to him or her.

Although most art auctions do give the artist a decent percentage if their work sells, more and more of them have the audacity to give no percentage.  This is unfair because of the time and expense that goes into creating just one work of art.  Fortunately, art groups are forming around the country protesting artists unfair relationships with non-profit organizations.

I know some people will get mad at me for saying this, but I think an artist's donations should be proportional to their sales.  It's only fair.  Why would you continue to donate work on a regular basis if your work is not selling?  While I believe in giving back to the community, you are only harming your future sales prospects if most of your transactions as an emerging artist have been freebies.

Only an artist can understand the struggle necessary to become an artist.  Most of us work other jobs while finding the time and space to produce work.  In addition to juggling many other responsiblities outside of our art, we feel the grind of applying for grants, art exhibitions, media exposure as well as constantly promoting our work.

Making art is a noble pursuit in which the artist is really giving back to the community when he creates his work.  Like any other fair exchange, he should at least be paid for the blood, sweat and tears of his work.   

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Getting Paid for Your Art / Part I

Creating art is what most committed artists enjoy doing, and we also enjoy selling our work - some with aspirations of being a professional artist, and some who are already at that level.  However, the business of art can be ridden with financial pitfalls, from buyers who are slow in paying to organizations who want to own an artist's work without paying anything.  Invariably, these type of buyers prey on an artist's desire for exposure and their need to sell their work.  There are some precautions that serious artists can take to ensure getting paid at the time they sell their work.

In order to establish a track record through exposure, emerging artists tend to participate in almost any venue that is offered, including vendor shows, street fairs and group exhibitions.  They are often quite eager to accept commissions, as well.  It is important that proper forms are available and signed before an artist participates in any venue.

After being "burned" several times (in various ways)by not getting paid on time, I drew up every conceivable type of form to have on hand for selling my art.  Some of these forms included contracts, commission agreements, blank itemized bills, reminder notes, installment agreements and exhibition agreements, to name a few.  Even though art dealers and other art business people have their own forms, I wanted to make sure that all their forms covered all variables.

Other ways that artists can make sure they get paid is by establishing a business policy for selling their work and stick to it.  Again, put it in writing! This policy should include:  How, What, Where, When and Who regarding the exchange of art for the exchange of cash.  It should also include whether you plan to be paid in full or in installments.  An artist should always include any variables pertaining to special circumstances regarding their particular work.
For example, if an organization asks you to freely donate a piece of art with the understanding that they pay no percentage, agree to donate but state your percentage policy if you expect to be paid.  Make sure you either have a form or draw up a form for this type of exchange.  Gaining exposure is always good, but artists must get paid for their hard work.

In Part II of this series, I will share some of my experiences regarding this subject.  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Creative Home as Sanctuary

"Who loves the rain
  And loves his home
  And looks on life
  with quiet eyes."
        Francis Shaw

Currently, I am finally beginning to beautify the home I've been living in for the past one and a half years.  Having painted an accent wall in the living room, all the bathroom and the bedroom, I find myself daydreaming constantly of colors for the other rooms to match the existing ones, which are in gradated shades of soft yellow, from palest pale to deepest gold.  The kitchen backsplash is lime.
Running through my head also are ideas for furniture and accessories, preferably trash-to-treasure and artful, respectively.  My favorite accessories would include pictures, pillows, plants, books, lighting, hanging paper mobiles and gifts from friends.  All of these items are related to my interests.

But more important than all these thoughts is that I want a space that is not only beautiful, but also imparts a feeling of stepping into another world, a visual sanctuary where I can always feel safe and relaxed and where visitors can feel welcome, happy and stimulated by their surroundings.  I want them to leave with a sense of having learned more about me based on my surroundings.

Ambitious? No.  I feel that a comfortable and beautiful home is a major component in contributing to one's sense of well-being.  It has been a life-long need that I must be surrounded by beauty at home in order to be fulfilled.  When I was younger, I thought I was odd in this strong need for beauty and comfort, but seeing other lovely homes in real life and in books changed my thinking.

Some favorite books in my library include "Feeling at Home" by Alexandra Stoddard, "Sacred Space" by Denise Linn and  "HouseBeautiful Art, Decorating with Art at Home."  The respective websites are and  There is much valuable information in all three books about  making your house into a home.  I was inspired to push forth in my beautification quest after reviewing them once again.

After painting the mentioned rooms, I began looking for fabric to make a special bedspread and pillows for my bed.  I also hung from the middle window panel five small hand-painted elephants suspended on golden thread.  I love waking each morning and looking at them because they were given to me by a friend, and were packed away in boxes until recently.  Objects like these become treasured friends over time, an integral part of your home.
 Step by step, I hope to have made good progress toward creating the type of atmosphere I desire in my space.  I will keep you posted.  Please feel free to comment on your own beautification adventures, be it home or garden. 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Loving Nature

As I grow older, my love and respect for Nature intensifies.  I find that during this time of the year, in particular, it is vital for me to find time to sit alone or walk somewhere in the presence of trees, flowers, river and birds.  Whether I'm reading or just reflecting, the peace I feel when I'm one with Nature is beyond description.
 Whenever I think about when my love of Nature began, I think back to my gradual, progressive journey with it - my awareness of it.  That awareness began during my early childhood in a small southern town, where my family and I often went on excursions into the woods during the summer to pick blackberries, cherries and grapes.  I loved the freshness of the air, the colors of the many different plants and the many, many trees everywhere.  I remember being excited that no two trees were the same.  I was even excited that we had to be careful to avoid areas known to harbor dangerous snakes.  Somehow, knowing the snakes were there and knowing that I was protected by adults kept my adrenalin flowing.

Growing up on my grandfather's small farm was another reason that I viewed Nature as a friend, especially in summer and fall.  In the summer, there was a garden filled with corn, green beans, tomatoes, greens, watermelons, cucumbers and okra.  There was also a fig tree in our front yard, and a chicken coop in our back yard.  I loved that we grew most of what we ate, and it wasn't until we moved north that I discovered  not everybody made  their own buttermilk - or wrung a chicken's neck in the morning and ate it for supper that same day.

Everybody had not eaten a yellow-meat watermelon from Georgia, or witnessed newborn kittens in a bedroom dresser drawer. Nor had they learned to climb a tree, catch a trout or watch caught-tadpoles turn into frogs.  Everybody had not caught June bugs in the summer, tied a string to their legs and watched them "zing on a string," making a zinging noise.  Nor had they sat on the front porch at night in the summer, catching lightning bugs in a jar. 

Everybody had not known the thrill of watching their relatives shake a pecan tree in the fall, and fill a crocus sack with the wonderful bounty.  Yet, as a child, I thought everyone had experienced all these things.  Later on, and even now, I am amazed that there are still those who think it is unsophisticated to love nature so much.  I have learned that it is they who are showing their ignorance with these type of thinking.

When I am in the presence of nature, especially trees and water, I am acutely aware that there is something higher than myself - something wise and mysterious.  Something that has been here forever, and for that I am thankful.

When I die, I will go back to the earth because I came from the earth.  I am a part of the earth, a part of Nature, and perhaps that is why I love it so much. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Living My Best Life

Today as I viewed yet another "to-do list," it occurred to me once again that there was no way to complete everything on that list.  The tasks before me could realistically be completed in a week or even two, but to try doing them all in one day would be begging for stress, irritation and exhaustion.  A two-week time span would allow for leisure time and socializing between tasks. Doing so would certainly make those tasks more palatable. 

After taking some time this morning  to reflect about my life, I realized that I continue to sometimes measure  the success of my day by the number of tasks accomplished, particularly the ones relating to my artistic goals.  This train of thought led to me to thinking about  what I would consider to be my best life. 

Even though some of my life goals have remained the same over time, the way I want to go about bringing them to fruition has changed.  My view of what constitutes my best life is rather simplistic and divided into four categories consisting of self-development, art, family and friends.  While there are sub-categories under each area, this is it for me. 

Spending my time focusing on these four areas and whatever is relevant to them is my best life. In many ways I am living my best life right now.  Most days find me dividing my time between various  activities relating to these four categories, with painting often being the top priority.

Besides the painting, I enjoy writing for the projects that are not yet "soup," reading, spending time in nature, and consciously developing myself spiritually.  Having lunch with friends or chatting with the long-distance ones on Facebook is also gratifying,  as well as spending time with my lovely family.  This is the gist of my best life.

Keeping in mind that a best life does not mean there will be no dark days, I can say that I am grateful for the best life I now have.  I just have to remember to keep those "to-do" lists short! 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Human Equality ( a rhythm/ performance poem)

Black people, red people, brown people white
Yellow people, pink people, dark people light
Tall people, short people, fat people thin
All people same save the skin they're in

Rich people, poor people, middle people drink
Smart people, dull people, dumb people think
Beautiful people, ugly people, pretty people plain
All living people have some type of brain

When you consider how basic the plate
It makes no sense to discriminate
When you consider the boat we're all in
It's best to accept all people as kin

Women people, men people, children people speak
Young people, middle people, old people eat
Girl people, boy people, straight people gay
All living people breathe every day

Moral people, sinner people, saint people priest
North people, south people, west people east
Good people, bad people, wrong people right
All living people face day and night

Black people, red people, brown people white
Yellow people, pink people, dark people light
Tall people, short people, fat people thin
All people same save the skin they're in

When you measure love with hate
It makes no sense to discriminate
When you consider the boat we're all in
It's best to accept all people as kin!

copyright 2009, Georgette Jones

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Week in Gratitude #4

"Objects of Affection #7 /  Private Collection

This week  has found me extremely anxious about some very real complexities in my life.  It is at times like these that I realize  my supreme source of comfort extends beyond the realm of the Human, but more toward the realm of the Divine.   The principle of gratitude continues to be a soothing mainstay for me.  Whenever I take stock of the blessings in my life, I feel reassured.  This is what I am thankful for this week:

Life - Regardless of what kind of day I'm having, there are so many things in life to enjoy, including the simple act of waking up and continuing to breathe.

Grandchildren - Here is an inexplicable love, so unlike any other.  They make me laugh really hard.  They say exactly what's on their mind.  And sometimes they say, "I wuv you" without really knowing what that means.

Books  - Cheez!  I am such a bookworm - sometimes sneaking in chapters between other tasks throughout the day.  Yes, it's true that I sometimes read on the run, but what better way to forget about your troubles than escaping through a book?  It's better than escaping through a bottle...............(I wouldn't fit into a bottle, anyway).

Food - On Wednesday, I made one of my speciality dishes, Tahitian Chicken, a stir-fry consisting of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, red bell peppers, onions, broccoli, pineapple chunks and Catalina dressing, all served over brown rice.  This is healthy, comfort food that can be prepared in small portions.  Totally delicious, served with peach tea Crystal Lite.

Work - When I'm feeling down, I become a workacholic.  I am thankful for having the energy to do my art, clean my place, go to the grocery store, do my laundry and answer my phone calls. 

Humor - Thankfully, there is a variety of humor to lighten any given moment of a day, whether you're alone  or with others.  I love to make others laugh and love to have my funny tickled, as well.

Pets - I am so thankful for my cat, Lucy.  No one would believe that when I'm putting on lipstick and mascara to go out, this cat jumps on the toilet seat so that I can put some on her, too.  Sometimes, she actually stands very still on her two hind legs while I pretend by rubbing each tube across her eyebrows.

Being grateful comes to me by remembering to focus on what I already have.  I hope this works for you, too.  Anyhow, these are the things I'm grateful for this week.  What are you grateful for this week?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

10 Things Art and Sex Have in Common

Interest - Regardless of skill or experience, if you have a sustained
interest in any pursuit, most likely you will do it well or learn to do it well.  Talent without interest fizzles, and ability without interest is just stone cold.  Enthusiasm, excitement and confidence are vital in evolving interest into passion.
Committment - Making art that expresses who you are requires time to learn how your own technical knowledge and emotions interact with both the subject matter and the materials at hand.  It requires committment.  Having sex with someone with whom you have a committed relationship is better than with someone you hardly know, which is not true intimacy, but more like having fast food when you could have had gourmet.  While I'm not implying that every committed relationship automatically means better sex, I am saying that it allows you the time and unfolding to learn your partner's emotional, physical, mental and spiritual temperament.
Freedom of Expression - You have the idea, you have the feelings, you have the desire.  You may express yourself however you wish, either in making love or in making art.
Spirituality - Spirituality is the level you reach during the phase where art makes itself - where eyes, hands and mind work in unison without self-conciousness or mental prompts, where color, form and all elements become one.  Enough said.
Creativity - When making art, it is exciting to approach each new work with a sense of joy rather than duty.  Each new work will have your own signature, but will be individual in its originality.  It is possible to approach intimacy with your partner in the same manner, with a willingness to be creative and varied in your activity.
Fulfillment - Satisfaction can be temporary, while fulfillment suggests permanency, while still challenging you to continue to strive for your highest.  This applies to many areas of life, including art and sex.
Health Benefits - Whenever I am involved in the process of painting with focus and committment, the results of my efforts invariably are felt afterwards.  The completed work leaves me with a sense of well-being and energy.  Over time, this has influenced my overall health.  Being in a committed relationship with someone you love and share a healthy sexual relationshp contributes to good physical and mental health, as well.
Communication - The process of making great art requires not only a robust constitution, but also a heightened sense of connection between yourself and your tools.  Heart, head and hands must be keen in communicating through dialogue between the artist and the work, reacting as the moment dictates.  The same is true in maintaining a fulfilling relationship with your partner.  Good communication includes the ability to truly listen, responding appropriately with sensitivity to what was said.
Passion - In many cases, the passion for making art can endure as long as you're an artist, even though, gradually over time, the physical aspect might limit your productivity.  The same could be said of a sexual relationship. 
Development - Great art must be developed over time.  Some people have given me funny looks when I have stated that this is such an overlooked area of intimate relationships.  It is my belief that a sexual relationship should also be developed over time.  I believe that the loss of sexual interest in your partner often results from failure to develop the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects  - as well as the physical aspects of a relationship.  Focusing on the physical alone can result in constantly seeking new partners, or even becoming sexually addicted.  A good sexual relationship cannot thrive strictly on physical attraction. 


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Appreciating Art by Children

When my now eight-year old grandaughter was five, she often sat next to me making her own art as I painted or sketched.  There was a period when she was quite prolific, cranking out colorful abstracts as well as a series of "girl" drawings which she obviously enjoyed making.  Each one of these girls had serious hair and a common stance, which I assumed she was attempting to duplicate from "Top Model," her favorite television show at the time. 

I was so enthusiastic about these small drawings that I carefully framed and mounted them in a montage arrangement over my kitchen desk.  Of course, my grandaughter was thrilled about this.  Whenever she came to visit, she went straight to the kitchen to look at her paintings.  Although they were raw and undeveloped, they were unique, colorful and made with lots of love.

Once, when I was preparing to take some paintings to a potential client, my grandaughter asked me, "What's a client?"  When I answered they were someone who bought paintings, she said, "Wait a minute!  Take some of my mine because I'm sure she'll want to buy them!"  Is that not confidence?

Parents, teachers and relatives can instill confidence in their children's artistic abilities - or even just passing interest- by showing appreciation for their creative renderings.  Every effort is praiseworthy as well as pure because a child's vision is spontaneous, genuine and innocent.  Some of  the art I've most enjoyed has come from children.  Whenever I look at it, I can feel the initial response that brought it into being.  Usually, this response is a sense of  wonder and excitement about the work itself.

As an adult artist, it is this feeling that keeps me painting, keeps me returning to the drawing board.  Often, I am aware that it is this feeling of excitement that I want to re-capture each time I start a new painting. How wonderful that children get to experience that feeling each time they make art.

Art made by children can be viewed at exhibitions presented by schools, libraries and community centers, among others.  These works are also available online.  Two of my favorite sites of art by children are ArtSonia and http://www.kidsart/.  When you visit the latter, be sure to click 'visit the gallery.'  Enjoy! 

*Note:  I wanted very much to post a photo of my grandaughter and me, as well as some of her art work, but was unable to do so because of technicalities.  I hope you enjoy this essay just the same.    

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leaving Winter

Even as the snow continues to cover the ground and the temperature drops at night, something has shifted in my winter perception.  I am thinking spring.  As I continue my pattern of rising just after dawn to write or read, I am no longer feeling restricted by winter.  Instead, I am thinking about walking outside again, maybe taking a swimming class and attending that monthly networking group I have missed all winter because of the cold.  I am also thinking about how much fun it will be to shop for and wear spring clothes.  Yea! No more looking like Lenny the Lumberjack!

The cardinals that frequent the feeder at a friend's house must be feeling spring-like, too, because the male and female have been playing "bird tag"  every time I visit. They know winter will have to leave soon, whether she wants to or not, because spring is patiently waiting just beneath the surface of the snow.

Despite my occasional complaints about the weather, I realize that the season of winter is necessary in order to enjoy and appreciate the warmer seasons.  I believe that winter is a metaphor for the major challenges of our lives.  The fact of winter helps to  build character and endurance, as we would probably be "fluffy" rather than solid people if it was spring all the time.  That which is too familiar is often taken for granted.

As winter is leaving, I am mentally bidding her goodbye in subtle ways.  I am noticing that the trees continue to be beautiful, even when bare.  And even though I dislike driving in snow, it is pleasant to view from inside, especially when the house is dark. 

Yes, I know that winter is notorious for throwing curve balls.  During the fickle month of March is when she is most likely to get weird on us, mixing all kinds of unlikely elements , "Ummm, what about  some fog with that ice!  Or a bit of sleet with the fog - haven't done that one in a while!" 

Still, when your time is up, it's up.  We are now closer to spring than winter, and soon it will be time to say......

".....goodbye, winter....hello,spring!"      

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Navigating Facebook

It's been almost a month since my account has been active on Facebook, and I'm not surprised that, despite a few annoying occurences, I am enjoying the experience.  I think my experience has been mostly positive because I am aware of my primary reason for being on the site - to promote my art.  Making friends along the way would definitely be an added bonus.

To date, here's some of my favorite features of Facebook: 

Friends - My list includes friends, other artists, musicians and family members.  Taking it slow when it comes to adding people makes my list relatively small in comparison to others who have added thousands. Also, I'm happy to say that I ACTUALLY KNOW or at least have met most of the people on my list!  It's a delight to connect with people I have not seen in years, and I look forward to finding more of these connections on Facebook.  Also, it's thrilling beyond words to connect with relatives in other states.     

Inbox - I love that I can send private messages via my inbox.  Since I enjoy one- on- one conversation, I use this feature regularly, mainly with people with whom I have had a "real life" connection. 

Status Updates - There is a section for viewing the most recent comments and activities of people on your friends list as well as updates about businesses, products, websites and celebrities you have added to your Pages.  Such an interesting treat!

Pages - This is one of my most used resources on Facebook.  I have become a fan not only of favorites I have used, but also a few that I want to learn more about.  I like getting updates about these favorites.

Artist's Groups - There are many I would like to join, but have only joined one thus far.  It's so much fun conversing with the other artists there and viewing their work that I haven't had time to check out the others.

This is all I have to say right now.  I think my Facebook experience will continue to be positive if  I remember that it is an enjoyable PART of my life, and not my  ENTIRE life. 

Already I have made some connections with people from my past whom I might still have been searching for had I not joined Facebook.  This makes me glad.   

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Art and the Fifth House of Leo

Criminologists have sometimes employed professional astrologers to draw up charts to study cerebral commonalities in serial killers.  Being naturally curious, I have studied  astrology in a lesser,  but more than cursory way in order to observe personality,character traits and various interests and pursuits in myself and others.    

It has been my observation that a great many artists are born in the month of July, the last part of which rules the sun sign, Leo -specifically July 23 to August 22.  This sign is ruled by the sun, it's symbol is the lion, and in scientific astrology,  governs the fifth house of art, leadership, children and creativity.  Even if an artist is not born within that exact time frame, some significant aspect of his chart is probably strongly influenced by the fifth house of Leo.

For example, the major aspects of my own chart are dominated by fifth house placements.  Although I was born with the Sun in Sagittarius, Moon in Pisces and Aries rising, many other planets such as Mercury, Mars and Uranus are ruled by other signs as well as Leo placed solidly in the fifth house.  

What does all this mean?  For me, it simply means that I must express my emotions through creative pursuits in order to be happy.  I'm sure it means the same for other artists, as well.

Some famous artists born in July include Gustave Klimt, Frida Kahlo, Marcel DuChamp, David Hockney, James M. Whistler, Edgar Degas, Thomas Eakins, Jean DuBuffett, Marc Chagall, Andrew Wyeth, Rembrandt, Alexander Calder, Edward Hopper and George Grosz.  There are probably many others.

I must also mention that the polarity of Leo is its opposite sign Aquarius, and there are many artists born under that sign, as well.     

If an artist is born at any time in July, he might be a Cancer or a Leo, but based on what I know about astrology, would still have strong placements leaning into  Leo and its fifth house.  He would be artistic, expressive, somewhat dramatic in speech, perhaps a chairman or president of a club or committee, and would probably have at least one child.  If not an artist, he might be an art lover or a gallery owner.  He might a Scorpio art dealer with his Moon in Leo or a Leo Rising or a strong fifth house placement.

For the record, President Barack Obama is a Leo and is a eloquent speaker.  He and his wife, Michelle Obama are art lovers who have two children.

Just some fun info, ya'll.   I want every Leo who reads this to leave a comment. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How Ideas Come

Subjects  for my paintings and poetry are generally based on my beliefs, thoughts, life experiences and observations.  However, specific ideas are often generated through inspirations such as cinema, literature or music. These ideas might come slowly as a process, spontaneously at any given time or in a dream, just before waking.

Ideas that come slowly as a process first manifest as a strong feeling I might have about a movie I've just seen or an unusually inspiring piece of music.  Like most of us, I  am most likely to have feelings about whatever I relate to - that expresses something I've experienced in my own life.  I felt justly moved the other night after hearing Jennifer Hudson singing, "Let It Be."  The words to that song always resonate with me, but her rendition was particularly impressive.

The strong feeling then flows into desire - the desire to retain the feeling by manifesting it into art.  This is a gradual process that might begin with sketches,  more sketches, and then a final drawing, which is used as a reference for the painting. 

Spontaneous ideas invariably come when I'm in a very relaxed mood with making art the last thing on my mind.  I might be doing a mundane task, such as vacuuming the floor or doing laundry, when - pow! - a poem insinuates itself into my brain.  Or an idea for a painting demands an immediate sketch.

Ideas that come in dreams are what I call gifts because they arrive full-fledged, rich with color and complete in design.  They are paintings delivered by angels during sleep.  Their only demand is that a pencil and pad is nearby.  Otherwise, they will be lost forever.

Oops, I forgot another way an idea might come - through sitting down and sweating it out of your's called..... force.  This one requires lots of time - say days or weeks.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Staying Healthy While Creating Art

 "Objects of Healing #2" / Acrylic on Canvas

When  just starting my professional career several years ago, I had a discussion with an established artist which has stuck in my mind to this day.  When I asked him how he was able to spend long hours in his studio working on his beautiful pointillism works, he cited long distance swimming as the key to his stamina.  He said the best advice he would give any artist  is "stay healthy in order to continue creating art!" 

As I realize now more than ever that "the more creative I am, the more creative I become," I also realize that a high level of energy is necessary in order to continue producing at the rate I currently enjoy.  My goal is to be like Pablo Picasso, who died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 90, after painting until 4a.m.

Barring unforseen circumstances, if I am to realize that goal, I know what to do.  The trick is to do it consistently:  1)Eat "right", which for me includes fish, poultry, raw and cooked vegetables, whole grains, fruits and water. I eat these foods every single day, but not always in smaller portions.   2) Get enough sleep.  Six hours is the most  I can muster.  3) Exercise.  When I'm not painting or making art, I'm constantly moving about, but I don't have an exercise routine. 4) Take vitamins.  I take them, and they make me feel a lot better than I would without them.

If I were to give myself a grade in following through on all of the above, I would give myself a B-,  even though I feel healthy most of the time. I have not had a cold, an ache or a pain in eight years.  Still, it bothers me that I could do better, but don't.  

Why don't I do it consistently?  Because I'm busy painting, ya'll!!!  Yes, I know.  It's a real Catch22.  But I have promised myself to get better with this.

And I'm thinking that I will.   

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Compassionate Sun

 "The Compassionate Sun"  / Acrylic on Canvas

 "As I continue to acknowledge those who are living with cancer or have overcome cancer,  I offer this painting and poem.  Both were created two years ago for my mother, who died in 2002 from ovarian cancer, a rapidly-growing form of that disease.  Shortly following her diagnosis, my mother suffered a stroke, which left her unable to speak throughout the reminding three months of her illness.  She had a room with a pleasant view.

See how the sun loves your heart,
Which faintly beats, yet still does beat
How fickle pain now does depart
How earth warms your chilly feet
As sun rises high, bright with heat

Sun knows you have lived with grief
Stored your faith in darkest keeping
Today's presence might recall your belief
To summon on days when he is sleeping
To hold on days that find you weeping

Your heart and soul feels torn and bled
You miss the sun whom you love so dear
First came rain, now the dread
No comfort of sun to soothe your fear
Only shadows of illness lurking near

See how the sun loves your face
Then pleases the trees with his smile
How he illumines morning like grace
Then comes in kindness to visit a while
To please you, also, with his smile

Much attention he has given the flowers
Such days of pleasure nature has known
For you, he rises to soften your hours
With this new light, your spirit has shone
Today he smiles for you alone

See how the sun loves you
This beautiful day is an embrace
With rays of hope that washes through
And illuminates morning like grace.

Offers this day that feels like Grace. 

copyright 2009, Georgette Jones

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cancer Survivor

Cancer came quietly, a subtle thief
In wait, lain for all those years
A downward spiral, a slow-falling leaf
To target the center of my fears

To target the eye of my major issues
The place where lessons take shape
Negative emotions hidden in tissue
Reveals truth without hope of escape

This, coupled with addictions of choice
Used by me in times of frustration
Growth now spreads this foreign voice
Whose presence increases my desperation

Why was tobacco used to cope
With the sorrows of a mundane life?
Or food used like a kind of dope
To get me through times of strife?

To leave faces of familiarity
Is not my longtime vision of now
Although I accept my mortality
There must be an answer, somehow

Could I pray for a quiet remission?
To give me a decent second chance?
And ask only for higher permission
For cancer to exit and me to enhance

The gifts of my life with a stronger heart
Based on all I belatedly understand
And walk the ways of a fresh start
The gifts of my life held firmly in hand

Then, through prayer plus action of power
Of equal intensity where cancer fed
Overrides the density where disease flowers
And bequeaths precious life instead

Though my understanding is most abstract
Of how this healing came to be
That miracles are possible is a fact
Of both scientific reasons and Divinity!

copyright 2009, Georgette Jones

*This poem was written two years ago, and is dedicated to all my friends who have beat cancer.  The painting, "Dreams of the Trinity" is in the permanent collection of Providence Hospital in Novi, Michigan.  

Friday, January 1, 2010

Fond Wishes for 2010

Good Day, Everyone!  And a Good New Year!  Let's all hope and pray for a better new year. May you all be blessed with your fondest good wishes.  Here are some of my own:

- That our troops will return home soon.  Is peace a possibility for this world?

- That there will be more protection for our children.  There are too many of them missing!

- That our elderly, our poor, our sick and our homeless will receive the services they need.

- That our lagging economy will soon recover.

- That the iminent health care reform will be true reform, beneficial to all.

- That art and handmade items will gain a firm footing in the global market, most desired ......(and bought... hee, hee).

- That, as artists, we will begin to document more of what is happening during these historical times, thereby leaving records for posterity.

- Speaking of  health care, that our pocketbooks be fat, but not our asses (mine included, ya'll).  Yes, I can be extremely spiritual, and say that word sometimes! 

Peace and Blessings to All!