Halloween and the Very Little Girl.

When I was a very very little girl, on a spooky Halloween night, my two aunts took me trick or treating. No street lights on the road. Bumpy cement side walk to trip on. The sky was pitch black, no moon, no stars. The dimly lit homes were set way back from the road.  A few cut pumpkins with faintly glowing eyes  lead me to the porch. The winds were howling and I was cold. And as I said, I was VERY VERY little. VERY VERY little and VERY VERY scared

All that I remember from that fearful night long ago was bloody bones!

Was it my aunts or something dreadfully eerie from another dimension that WANTED to hold my hand? Two apparitions draped all in white, flesh moldy and rotten, wound about their neck, waist and wrists hung real, really true, meaty-bloody bones!

It was enough to become a vegetarian!

Halloween is a bit different today.   

Pumpkins still to carve, they seem to grow larger and larger each season.

Slimy, slinky, sinewy, slippery, stringy globs of seeds.


They said I had to wait..........

s.furner fine art: A Bit of Spice

s.furner fine art: A Bit of Spice: "It is as though a 'Bit of Spice' has entered my life. My last post I wrote about losing touch with my creative side, of lacking courage. Wou..."

A Bit of Spice

It is as though a 'Bit of Spice' has entered my life. My last post I wrote about losing touch with my creative side, of lacking courage. Would the desire to paint and create in its many forms emerge once more? Yes! Yes! Yes! I am so grateful to have it once again highlighting  my days. Just to paint makes me happy, no masterpieces here! Exploring-- having fun once again in the world of paint, brushes and canvas; wondering what will pop out of my head.

We are having beautiful weather absolutely wonderful, refreshing, a welcome relief. The maple trees on our street are turning burgundy, copper and gold. The birds are flocking to the little bird feeders outside our windows...do they know that winter is coming as they peck away at the tiny nutty-brown seeds?  Sunday I pulled out my enormous blue enamel pot and cooked chili, spicy hot with  rust colored spices like cumin, chili and paprika. Splurged on the happiest of flowers,TWELVE sumptuous Sunflowers....which prompted me to re-read some of my favorite van Gogh passages and sigh in deep pleasure revisiting his magnificent Sunflower paintings. Do you think that Vincent knows how many people he has given such pleasure to? Whom he has inspired to create against all odds. To develop their own unique style?

I rejoice at this the time of year when I fall in love once more with the brilliant color of ORANGE!!! Eons ago when I was in junior high our school colors were Orange and  Black...ugh! I said I would never look at orange again, even boycotted eating oranges; I so disliked our school colors. But as I grew a little more open minded, and  many moons passed, I slowly began a love affair with ORANGE....an autumn audition of flamboyant colors.

They say that orange engages enthusiasm and creativity. Did you know that Lady Luck's color is orange?  I read somewhere that CURIOSITY is the driving characteristic of orange and that accompanies an exploration of new things....hmmm like creativity, passion and joy?

A few years ago, these small canvases were inspired after an autumnal drive in western Maryland.

This could be ANY PLACE, but it is really just a few miles from our, then home,  in Maryland. Rural Maryland rivals Vermont. Simply colorific!
Memory serves me well, this building was truly this PURPLE, what a perfect combination with the rusts, gold and oranges of pumpkins, squash and drying corn. The squirrels  have a 'field day' with so much bounty to choose from.

It isn't that I don't enjoy eating eggplant, but much happier painting it!!
It just occurred to me that each of these paintings have a combination of Orange and Purple....
I have such gratitude in my heart, for the emergence of DESIRE. Desire to paint and create, fill vases with Sunflowers, tie a purple scarf in my hair, catch up with van Gogh my very most favoritist painter ever and .....

Explore pumpkin patches and corn mazes with two little Funny Bunnies here in Charlotte, our new home. I have discovered it is just as gorgeous and lovely here as it was in Maryland, because Home is truly where the Heart is.

We spent over an hour in this corn maze. We had a few pangs of worry if we would really walk out before night fall!!! Smile.
Our little Funny Bunnies must have felt like Jack and the Beanstalk, diminutive, petite and swallowed by the stiff arms of the cornstalks.
Rustic crates filled with orange globes, destined to decorate someone's porch; be carved into some fantastic shape; or pureed into a delicious aromatic pumpkin pie!
Dreaming in Orange. It has been said that if a change of any kind is needed in life, just burn an orange candle for 7 nights!!  Maybe a 'cat nap' in the middle of a pumpkin pile will do as well.

Paint on My Hands, Face, Clothes......

After way too many months of ignoring my oils, brushes and canvases I have started PAINTING. Yippee!! I could present a gazillion excuses, but it mostly boils down to loss of COURAGE. It actually takes a bit of BRAVERY to create...to create anything, from sculpting a fairy, writing a novel, polishing up one's musical talents. I felt like I was wandering in the LAND OF OZ with no Golden Brick Road to follow. You QUESTION: have my skills slipped away. You WONDER: if the MUSE has left to roost with someone else. You PONDER: if you really WANT to CREATE You question and question, then the worst happens PROCRASTINATION.  Yes, there was a selling and buying of homes, a major move. Yes, my husband had many health problems and surgeries. Yes, Yes, Yes....so many reasons turned to FUTILE, USELESS EXCUSES. But also I had lost FAITH in MYSELF and DIRECTION.

Before I moved to North Carolina, a dear friend,  Sharon Schwenk invited me to be a part of a painter's group,  SILVER BRUSH SOCIETY. This gathering of talented artists have been painting together for ten years.  One member had leave and they were looking for a replacement. It was their welcoming hand extended to me in Maryland. It was an opportunity to drop into an artist's group immediately. How many times have I written how warm and friendly I have found it to be in Charlotte?  These painters have been gracious, welcoming, friendly and very helpful.

I have now met the members as we prepared over 1500 invitations to the November annual benefit show for the Matthews Help Center. Last week five of us hung an art exhibit in the Bank of America Pavilion in Charlotte.  This opportunity is how I found the COURAGE and DESIRE to paint.

I am excited to share a few pieces with you today.  They are all small steps, small paintings but they have worked their magic and I am excited to once again be painting.

At first I couldn't decide what I wanted to paint. So I started small and went with a SUNFLOWER theme.....as it is my favorite flower and color.

Meet Sunny. She is absorbed in dog reverie, relaxing in the Sunflowers.

Oscar is plunked down on a Sunflower cushion.  Painting animals, other than the occasional cow is something new for me. And I have started a series of puppies.

Molly in the Meadow....I wonder if butter is yellow due to a diet of Buttercups and Sunflowers?

Sunflower Fields....just have to do a few Provence, France inspired paintings.
I end this little preview with a tiny painting, smaller than you see on your screen. Sunburst is 6x6 inches BIG!


She had run out of time sharing her stories about her daughter's sore feet which are feeling much better, thank you, and her reflections upon the Hindu rites of Fire Walking. ( See previous post) Later in the day we chatted again and she had more thoughts on feet and toes in particular. And so to finish the conversation..........

Did you know that New York City's high end spas use tiny little fish to nibble on one's toes and ankles. They daintily nibble away all the dry skin leaving one's feet soft and supple. Well, She didn't try this in New York City but did in Singapore. And the story goes:

She and her family had been to a night safari, and while walking with eyes wide open she saw a most peculiar scene, really quite bizarre. Men and Women were sitting on high benches, dangling their feet, while hundreds of tiny little fish clustered around their toes and ankles. And RIGHT IN PUBLIC VIEW!!!  It was quite amazing. And it was here that she learned that it is a very acceptable and a PLEASANT way to get a pedicure of sorts.

Now don't let this GROSS you out. These people were having a great time and looked fully relaxed.

She commented to her son,  what a story it would be to go back to the United States and have THAT particular type of pedicure to share with friends and family. BUT she wasn't sure that she could actually go through with it!

The night before departing Singapore her son suggested a last minute outing with all the family. They were going to a HUGE mall. Now why would they spend their last night together at a really HUGE mall?  They walked the long corridors, rode escalators up to even more levels filled with all types of stores. Her son's fast walking pace suddenly slowed down. In the middle of the mall were two big TANKS of water with people sitting around the edge. OH NO!  A Fishy Pedicure was going to happen right in the middle of the gigantic mall. Determined to be a good sport, she and her husband decided to go along on this ticklish adventure. And this is what happened. You can fill in the words!    

Well in the END guess whose feet had the most fish munching on a Thanksgiving Feast? SHE did and she was rather embarrassed to think her feet were so DELICIOUS!


Just one phone call  started her thinking how important toes are to one's anatomy and uprightness.   Her daughter, who has the most petite and pretty feet in the family had met with disaster when she decided to treat herself to a home spa treatment.  Unaware that Drain O residue was still in the bathtub, she placed her feet inside, anticipating sheer bliss. BLISS turned to BLISTERS!  second degree chemical burns. The recovery has been slow, and painfully prolonged. This school teacher learned her own lesson: "Always rinse out the tub before using." 

Feeling great empathy for her daughter's predicament, in a moment of stillness and reflection she recalled attending the Theemithi India Festival at the Hindu Sri Srinivasa Perumel Temple in Singapore. This is a festival that her western friends would call Fire Walking.

This is a serious evening of devotion and penance as Hindu men clad in saffron colored garments line up for miles and miles. Patiently they wait, meditate and pray in preparation for their turn to cross the long bed of burning hot coals. They are here to prove their innocence with a ritualized form of repentance by walking the coals unscathed. 

The interior of the temple is densely filled with breathtaking altars to their Deities. For this special day the altars are festooned in mountains of flowers, especially Marigolds, the color of saffron. 
Women and children cluster in friendship and kinship adorned in their richly colored saris, visiting, singing, like a church gathering one would find anyplace in the world. Shrouding all is the presence of reverence and devotion.

Children finally succumb to the all night festivities.
(She told me that this was one of her favorite photographs and soon to be the basis of a painting.  Hope she shares it.)

 All who enter the hallowed ground of this temple must leave their shoes outside the walls. Mounds of shoes surround the temple like waves upon the shore. She, too, walked barefoot through the crushed flowers, feeling the ancient stones beneath her feet. She thought about who had walked these stones before her, with what were their daily lives filled: customs, cultural upbringing, devotion to family, happiness, simpleness, richness of life's blessings and a living belief in their personal Deities. She left the temple a better person than when she had arrived. 

And yes, all who visited that night left with feet of a particular saffron color.