If You Want A Rainbow…

 “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,

you gotta put up with the rain.” -Dolly Parton

Even though I’ve listened to country music my entire life I had never heard that quote until today. It stood out to me. It made me smile. I think we have all dealt with some rain in our lives. Whenever your sad or alone you can easily envision rain. Like those sappy movie scenes that add the rain for dramatic effect. It falls alongside tears.  Why does the rain seem to follow sorrow, heartache, or “dampened” spirits?

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It’s cleansing. It’s a necessity to life. There wouldn’t be life without water. And in what may seem to be our darkest hours is only the storm clouds rolling in to wash away the filth we have carried for too long. Things happen so quick like a flash of lighting. Our lives tremble like the thunder rolling in. It may seem scary at first. The rain will start to pour and everything puddles up fast. You feel like you may drown, a monsoon engulfing you. Your at your wits end. You have to take a breath soon or the life from you chest will fade. And then in the blink of an eye, the rains stops. The seemingly treacherous waters have flowed away and with it the grime that covered everything. You take a gasp of air. So refreshing. So pure. The air is clean and the gray skies start to part.

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A ray of light beams through and everything seems to gradually get clearer. It’s all a little brighter and by the end of the storm, a rainbow circles around you. You can’t see the end of it but you don’t have to. You just enjoy it.

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The reason I felt compelled to write this wasn’t just because I like the quote. I thought it too coincidental that the day I discovered it, it rained all day. It poured in the morning and the skies were dull. A warm, rainy, winter day. Very odd. Later in the day the rain finally stopped and the clouds turned into a deep yellow. It was really bizarre. Then all of a sudden everyone seemed to come out at once and discovered a huge double rainbow glowing on the dingy yellow clouds! It was amazing! The weather was just so strange today and the fact that I saw that quote today inspired me to write this and share the photos I took.

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Just remember, sometimes you may feel a bit lost in the storm but the only way to get a rainbow is to put up with the rain. Besides, rains not so bad!

Until next time…

“A little rain never hurt anybody.”

Free Spirit Realm

This is something I have never exposed before. Honestly though, that’s no surprise. I keep a lot of things to myself but that is all changing now. I like the word exposed because I feel naked sometimes when I share things that are important to me. Don’t we all! This week’s exposure is going to be my studio.

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There is a studio in there somewhere, I swear!

It has always been quite small of a space. A crowded corner in the dining room or along the hallway by the attic. I never really thought I had a “studio”. I always imagined these professional artists/photographers with their 20 ft. high ceilings, humongous canvases, easels upon easels, and supplies out the wazoo! Studios so big you could zip-line from one side to the other! And then there’s my hole in the wall.

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My new “supplies briefcase”. Super cool!

Eh, who needs a freakin’ parking garage for a studio anyways! I’m proud of my little corner. It’s mine. It’s all me. Completely my own. The only place in the world where I feel like I am a Master. A Ruler. A Queen.

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It is my domain, my workshop, my place of solitude. I make the rules and I make the world. I can express anything I like. My selfish spot of creativity and freedom. It’s where I learn, practice, awaken, study, create, listen, feel, and become myself. My true self is alive when I am in my studio. The real me can come out and play with no ridicule, no shame, and no fear.

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A studio doesn’t need a door, four walls, a ceiling, or even a floor. A studio isn’t a place to just photograph or draw. It is a place where you feel completely safe. I don’t mean safe as in you won’t get hit by a car or mauled by a bear. I mean safe as in, you can express your true nature and not feel inclined to hold back because of surrounding influences.

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My future project/reference/inspiration board…thingy.

That’s why I love my studio. I can surround myself with everything I love. Everything that motivates me and makes me feel good. Sometimes I don’t even do anything in my studio. I will just sit in my chair in a daze, looking around and admiring my nest. I feel like a bird sometimes. Making a basket around myself of all my treasures collected.  Or perhaps it’s more like my bear’s den where I can hibernate.

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Yes, I have a box full of feathers. Yes my drawing manikin is dancing. That’s how I roll.

Whatever it is, it’s mine. I was always embarrassed for anyone to see my itty bitty art corner. For some reason I felt like people wouldn’t take me seriously as an artist if they saw my paper and box fort I called a studio! I have gained a lot more confidence since then and have decided that’s ridiculous first of all. Secondly, I should be proud of my space. My studio is made of mirrors and everything in it is a reflection of who I am. If I can’t be proud of my space then how can I be proud of myself?

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I leave open books on my desk so I’m drawn to read them more often.

I love checking out other studios and workshops. If you have one of your own, feel free to share a picture or comment below!

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Until next time…

Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.

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I love putting my son’s work in my studio. I inspire him and he inspires me.
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My personal Art Library with my small but growing collection of National Geographic magazines.
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These books are my obsession for the new year. Old books I’m picking back up, new books, new sketchbooks, and new journal! Yay! I’m ready 2016!
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One of my most favorite quotes!

Krampus is Coming!

Twas’ the eve before St. Nicholas Day,

When all through Germanic land,

Not a creature was stirring,

Except for the wild goat man.

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Krampus, the Christmas Devil

His name is Krampus and he’s a devil of sorts. With his long snakey tongue and horns atop his skull. He is half goat, half man. He looks as a Satyr and walks on two cloven hooves. He is the demon of Christmas. Leave your coal at home St. Nick. You won’t need it now that Krampus is at your side. He carries his chains all covered in bells and he clashes and clanks them to torment the wicked ones. Krampus is not inherently evil, no, no….but if you have a reputation of being on the naughty list then you might see him as so. He carries his birch sticks to swat your behind and if your really unruly he will drag you underground; stuffed in a barrel and rolled to the Underworld. He will further your suffering until you have learned your lesson, then he may just let you go.

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He knows when you are sleeping.

His legend is centuries old in Germany. His day is the fifth of December, Krampusnacht (Krampus Night). The german children would hang a boot outside their door. When St. Nicholas Day came, Dec. 6, they would check their boots and see if anything was left for them. Good behavior was rewarded with sweets. Bad behavior would be left with a rod. A sign that Krampus may need to pay you a visit!

His name comes from the German word Krampen, meaning claws. He is believed to be the son of Hel, Norse goddess of the Underworld. His animalistic presence was suppressed for many years.

Nowadays, he is making quite a comeback. European countries honor him by dressing in devil costumes and parading down the street playfully terrorizing the on-lookers. He is becoming quite popular in America as well. Children are no longer afraid of Santa’s lump of coal but a switch from Krampus on the other hand!

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I am quite inspired by Krampus and decided to do a sketch of him. This one is a concept drawing. I would like to do another one, full body image, that way you can see his cloven hooves and sinister claws. Some claim that Krampus only has one cloven hoof and his other foot more man-like with claws. This is my first attempt though. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t use any reference pictures. I drew it from my head which is difficult for me to do sometimes so I am quite happy with the turn out. I had a few different influences on the Krampus I drew. The minotaur was my inspiration for the size and shape of Krampus. I incorporated a bit of Beast from “Beauty and the Beast” as far as facial features. This helped me figure out how to draw a “beast” that was still human-like. The character Venom, from Spider-man, came to vision when I was drawing the mouth and tongue. Put the three of them together and I think you have a pretty decent Krampus portrait. I can’t wait to do another one that can incorporate even more detail!

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I hope you’ve been nice this holiday season. If not, Krampus may be coming to see you! What do you think about Krampus? Too much or just what we need? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Until next time,

Bah-Humbug!

Just kidding,

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

 

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Have you gotten snow where you live yet? Perhaps you don’t get snow. Then you’re probably not waiting for it like I am. I live in upstate New York. It’s pretty high up there compared to the rest of the U.S. So you can guess that we get TONS of snow up here. There was one year we had a snowstorm the day before Halloween! You know your a northerner when you buy your kids Halloween costume one size too big so it will fit over their snowsuit! Luckily we didn’t have to wear our snow boots this year.

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That was our 8 ft. snowman, until it snowed again!

So no snow in October. Phew! Okay, here comes November. Thankgiving, fall, trees change color if they hadn’t started already. A beautiful season! More commonly people’s favorite and more often then not if it hadn’t snowed in October then our fall weather would definitely been cut short with a few inches of white on the ground. Eating turkey together and looking out the window to snowfall. Luckily we didn’t have to share the orange colors with the plain winter blanket this year!

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So no snow during the fall. Phew! Now we’re current and we’re heading into December. Christmas time! Santa and sleigh rides, hot chocolate and ice skating, snowmen and doing donuts in the parking lot…ahem, I mean making snow angels.

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Yay! Snow fun!

 

Wait…over half of those things involve snow. Surprisingly we snuck by the first week with no snow. Week two went by. Everyone has their decorations up, put up a while ago to ensure it was done before the expected snowfall. Vehicles driving by sound like they’re eating the road because everyone has their snow tires on. Yet we are all still waiting.

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We got a little bit of snow.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Your telling me it’s mid-December in upstate NY and you haven’t seen a single freakin’ snowflake! Well I saw a few. A light dusting if that’s what you can call it, that melted an hour after it arrived. But since then…Nothing.

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There’s that “dusting” I was talking about.

At first everyone is all like, “Yay! I hate snow! Longer it stays away the better!” But do you forget the balance of the seasons? Do you recall late winters in the past? Every time there is a late winter, that means snowy Easter my friends! Let’s hope not! That’s why I dedicate this post to snow. It’s time to let it rip mother nature! Give us a white Christmas! It’s time to go sledding and have snowball fights and make snowmen and all that snowy stuff!

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Ice skaters at the Snow Festival held at Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY.

Fun fact time! Did you know that snow isn’t actually white. A snowflake is compiled of tiny little crystals that are actually clear. What we see is light reflecting back and forth on the crystals, making the snow appear white to us. Depending on where you live it might not be white at all! Some places report pink/red snow because of the ground it sits on, being red clay.

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Often snow can be seen with a blue tint or even purple. When the spectrum of light passes through the snow, it scatters. Light is absorbed as it travels, absorbing more from the red side of the spectrum as opposed to blue/violet end. This allows the blue or violet light to travel and reflect more easily than the other colors. Snow may even appear green or gray while being accompanied with algea or dust. Oh…and always remember how yellow snow gets yellow. I won’t get into that one. Just know it’s not lemon juice!

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I’m not sure if your a fan of snow or not. You may even be Chionophobic, which is the fear of snow. If your from the north though, it’s a part of life. It’s the change of the seasons and a change in the world around us. We need that. It’s so strange to not see it yet. It just feels weird. Like the feeling you get when you think you forgot something. Even if you didn’t you still feel that way all day. Something is missing.

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There’s a greek story you may have heard of Persephone being abducted to the Underworld by Hades. Her mother Demeter, the goddess of vegetation, was so distraught that it affected the upper world and all the trees and plants had died. Winter had come.

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Zues ordered Hades to return Persephone, so to restore life to the surface. Hades was forced to agree, but before returning her, he gave Persephone seven pomegranate seeds to eat. This made it so the Underworld would always be a part of her and she would be forced to return and stay with him for four months out of every year. This created the change in the seasons. Perhaps Persephone is visiting her mother a little longer than usual this year, before returning to the Underworld.

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In any case, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Do you agree? Do you love the snow or are you hoping to avoid it for as long as possible? Share your story below!

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Until next time,

Get busy living, or get busy dying.

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Two feet of snow…get it?!
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DeSoto LOVES the snow!

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Holidae taking a snowy snooze.

 

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Ice coating everything.
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Looking through the wet window on a winter drive-by.

 

 

Pagan Holidae: A Horse of Leisure

There is a new Pegasus in the spirit realm. His name is Pagan Holidae. He is a short and stout palomino with spunk and spirit. His best friend in fact was called Spirit. This Pegasus named Holidae galloped across the physical world, as a horse, alongside my mother. This is their story.

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My mother, being a bookworm and knowledge junkie, had many subscriptions to equine magazines. One of which was entitled “trailBlazer”. She was reading an article about proper saddle fitting and how to avoid discomfort for your horse. The images used for the article had a unique saddle in them, atop a horse, demonstrating proper saddle placement. My mother awed at the saddle. She had been searching many years for the perfect saddle and there it was being used as a reference in an article. She wanted one for herself, provided it fit her horse properly. She looked everywhere for it. She couldn’t even find information on the kind of saddle it was, let alone the saddle itself. She searched online; she searched every tack shop; she even tried contacting trailBlazer magazine to see if anyone knew anything about it. Still, nothing.

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A year or so had passed and my mother had forgotten about the elusive saddle. The time had come to add another equine familiar to the barn. She started searching online for horses for sale. She came across a beautiful little palomino called Special Edition. Unfortunately he was in Colorado; my mother was in Ohio. She took a chance. He was portrayed as an amazing trail horse with a great temperament and my mother knew he was “special”. She contacted the owner, Susan Gibson, struck a deal, and the palomino was on his way to Ohio! My mother changed his name to Pagan Holidae. (Can’t blame her, a horse named Special Ed? Funny but no thank you.)

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Oh, before you think this origin story is over, did I mention that Susan Gibson was the editor for trailBlazer magazine. Light-bulb! My mother took a long shot and asked if Susan knew anything about the saddle published in that article from a while back. Come to find out, the saddle was Susan’s and Holidae was the horse in the article! Susan had it custom made in Chile specifically for Holidae! So Susan sold her the saddle. What are the odds! My mother asked the universe for the saddle in the magazine and a year later she gets THAT exact saddle and the editor’s horse to go with it! Talk about the law of attraction!

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Photo by Laurie Schmidt

Holidae carried my mother all across the country. One of the most relaxing things to experience is a good ole’ fashion trail ride. That’s what Holidae was built for. That was Holidae’s demeanor. Relaxation. Calm. Quiet. Chill. On the trails at least. Don’t let him fool you though. He could be quite a stinker at times too, when his “grumpy old men” attitude kicked in. He played the tough guy card but underneath that yellow fluff was a kind soul. He would always have my mother in mind when they were trail riding; carefully bending around tight spots to ensure he wouldn’t bash her knee into a tree. When he was in the pasture grazing, he would perk up when he saw her coming. She would give a little whistle and he would come running up to her. There isn’t much on this planet that is stronger than the bond between horse and rider.

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Photo by Keith Schmidt

After many happy trails, my mother eventually retired him. He developed Cushing’s Disease which is a dysfunction of the pituitary gland. She gave him a calm, quiet and chill environment to relax in, as he did for her. Sadly, Holidae closed his eyes for eternity last week. Though his eyes have closed, his heart remains open. That’s the power of a horse, my friend. Even in death, the companionship of a horse lasts forever. Each horse has a lesson to teach. Holidae’s lesson was to sit back and enjoy the ride! Relax and don’t fret because you never know when the world will drop off your dream saddle and a palomino to carry you away! R.I.P. Pagan Holidae. You will be missed.

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8″ x 11″ graphite/colored pencil drawing “Little Friend” A butterfly takes a rest on Holidae’s mane

I also would like to pay my respects to Susan Gibson who also passed away this year. Perhaps her and Holidae are together again, soaring through the clouds.

“For one to fly, one needs only to take the reins.” ~ Melissa James

Until next time…

So long, partner!

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24″ x 24″ charcoal and conte crayon on canvas “Together” Holidae & Spirit

 

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8″ x 11″ pencil drawing, “Holidae Grazing”

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Best Buds
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Photo taken by Keith Schmidt
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Photo taken by Laurie Schmidt

I’m A Little “Sketchy”

I don’t typically share my sketches or “practice” drawings but today I shall. I use to feel kind of naked if I showed people my practice work. It’s so raw and rough. I was almost embarrassed by it. I didnt want anyone to think I was a bad artist. I know, I know…it’s ridiculous! I am trying to get over that fear because the point of being a professional artist is to be exposed  and the point of keeping a sketchbook is to improve one’s skills. We’re all here to learn.

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I decided to share my sketchbook because I can’t really share any of the major pieces I am working on right now. Some of them are gifts for Christmas. I plan on working on some Christmas/winter themed drawings soon. I did one of a foal for Halloween. I think I will do that for every holiday and see what I can come up with. I missed Thanksgiving unfortunately, but I’ll catch it next time.

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Festive Foals! I think that shall be the name of a new holiday series!

I also would like to start doing W.I.P (work in progress)posts. I will photograph my drawings as I work on them and you can see it all come together in the end. Just some ideas I have for the near future! Now…back to the sketchbook.

I love blank paper! For being a tree hugger you wouldn’t think I would love having heaps of paper! I typically buy the sketchbooks with 50% recycled paper though, so it makes me feel a little better. 😉

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Greatest sketchbook ever!

I picked up this book a few months ago actually and never started using it until recently. It’s entitled “500 Drawing Prompts”, obviously. Oh my goodness I love it so much! It is so plain looking but it’s the best. There is enough space for any artist to doodle their own cover to look however they please. As you can see I could use some pictures on the cover of mine.

When you open it up, it is nothing but blank pages with one or two of the most random words per page. And there you have it, hours of entertainment for your average artist!

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“You Shall Not PASS!”

Sometimes it can be very overwhelming to try and create a “fine” piece of art all the time. You don’t want to mess up, it has to be perfect, you are so paranoid about making sure the paper stays clean, you don’t want to leave fingerprints or smear your hand across it while your drawing. You want it to look realistic and neat. So much pressure. Yea, most of it is self inflicted but those are my trials as an artist/perfectionist. That’s why when things aren’t coming out the way I want them to, I take a break and just doodle in my sketchbook. It doesn’t matter if it looks like garbage. It doesn’t matter if I make a huge irreversible mistake. It’s no big deal if coffee is spilled on it. Just wait for it to dry and draw something out of the coffee stain! It can be literally what ever I want to draw at the moment from a mermaid to a flying taco. (I have never drawn a flying taco but maybe I will now).

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The Blackhole!

Just like a flying taco, this sketchbook is so random. It’s awesome! I like to flip through it and point my finger on a random page to pick what I’ll do next. I was surprised when I came across the page “Yeti”. I am a big cryptozoology nut so I was excited to draw one! I’ve drawn Nessie, the Chupacabra, and the Jersey Devil in the past. Now I can add Yeti to that list! Sweet!

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The Abominable Snowman

I think I have about 4 or 5 full sketchbooks right now. Not very many considering how long I have been drawing. But like I said, I’m a tree hugger so I try to really fill the paper! I probably won’t share any of my old sketchbooks. I keep them around to remind me how far I have come as an artist. Sometimes when I feel low, it’s nice to look back and see that I have actually made improvement.

Do you keep a sketchbook or a journal? What’s you favorite thing to draw/write about and why? Share your thoughts below in the comments!

Until next time…

Hakuna Matata

 

Footloose & Fancy-free

I had a random thought. I know… this could be dangerous! Have you ever heard the saying, “No one will be looking at your feet.”? Well first of all that is a bold face lie. I can’t tell you how many times I have received compliments from someone about my boots. I also can’t tell you how many jokes I have heard about my goofy shoes or my mix match socks or the occasional snarl my mother gave me when she saw me wearing my holey converse. Damn, I miss those shoes. Furthermore, can you honestly tell me you have never seen someone wearing bright orange high tops from a mile away! So long story short, people most certainly notice your feet!

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2012- Kinderhook Creek- Nassau, NY

Have you ever thought about all the different things your feet have done? Where have they taken you? We stand on them for hours, stub toes, drop things on them (which I did twice this week and it friggin’ hurts!). I think I speak for many when I say I’ve broken every toe at least once. I can’t tell you how many horses have stepped on my feet!

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2010- Big ol’ Belgian hoof- Stallion Expo, Grand Rapids, MI

Don’t forget my phsyco dog that will run past me in a random act of excitement, digging his claws in my foot. How many of you have put a boot or slipper on and got a delightful sting from a creepy crawly? And oh yes, my personal favorite, stepping on a nail!

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2015- Feb. Clifton Park, NY

Our poor feet take quite a beating. It also seems like we push our pain tolerance when it comes to our feet. I mean, without them, we have to sit on our asses all day and who has time for that? Who cares if I have to hobble?! I need to get where I’m going!

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2015- Easter day

Have you ever ran outside barefoot? I mean straight up ran! It’s so refreshing. The bottom of your feet have more sensory nerve endings than any other part of your body. Stepping on the prickly yet soft grass makes you smile (just look out for dog poo:P)!

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2012- Sarasota Beach- FL

Wiggling your toes in the sand and feeling the water skim back and forth across the tops; I bet you can’t find me one person that doesnt love that! I took a trip to Florida and I tell you what, five days of walking those beaches made my feet look gorgeous! I had no calluses and they felt so soft and smooth. It was nice. I’m not usually one for pampering but yea…that was nice.

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2015- Battlefield Park- Lake George, NY

I feel like this extremely over looked part of our body needs a shout out. I have been collecting photographs of my feet and the places they have taken me. I never had any expectations for these photos. It was more of a personal collection of mine. It’s one of those silly “creative type” things I guess. At this point I have so many I figured it would be a neat project to share. Perhaps it’s something you may want to start doing. Once you start paying more attention to your feet, from an artist’s perspective, there are so many cool possibilities.

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2012- Sarasota Beach- FL

Fun fact time! Did you know 25% of our bones are in our feet alone. If your feet are out of whack, your whole body suffers!

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2012- Kinderhook creature track (just kidding it’s mine) Kinderhook Creek- Nassau, NY

Moral of the story is: take care of your feet and follow them to adventure! Remember… even if you have two left feet, cold feet, a lead foot, your dead on your feet, have a foot in the door, following someone’s footsteps, getting off on the wrong foot, getting your feet wet, have one foot in the grave or putting your foot down….you can’t get anywhere without them!

What have your feet gotten you into? Leave a comment below and share your story!

Until next time, you stay classy San Diego!

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2010- Mother’s Day- Oak Openings Nature Preserve- Swanton, OH
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2014- Clifton Commons Playground- Clifton Park, NY
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2012- Dingman’s Campgrounds- Nassau, NY
Goold Orchards- 2013
2013- Goold’s Orchards- Castleton, NY- my son’s cute little feet
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Camwow is a very fun app. Try it!
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2012- Kinderhook Creek- Nassau, NY
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2010- Nassau Lake- Nassau, NY
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2008- Iroquois Steeplechase- Nashville, TN
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2008- Clip Clops and Converse- Delta, OH
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2014- Saratoga National Historical Park- Saratoga Springs, NY
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2010- “Second Bridge”- Nassau, NY
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2014- Tugboat Roundup- Waterford, NY
William K. Collins Jr Park Clifton Park NY 2014
2014- William K. Collins Jr Park- Clifton Park NY- The balance beam!
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2015- Million Dollar Beach- Lake George, NY

We wish you a merry…wait!

Trick or Treat! We celebrated Halloween and as soon as November 1st came around…

Christmas carols, wrapping paper, Christmas lights, trees, and stockings; ugly sweaters, sleigh bells and Santa hats; Christmas specials and the ever controversial Black Friday! Wishlists, Christmas decor and early shopping for the season! Could there be a more wonderful time? Well, I like to think so. Does anyone recall a holiday called Thanksgiving? Does anyone know why it’s a national holiday?

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Maybe we should rewind a bit. It’s Nov. 1st. What we should be thinking about is how the leaves are bright orange and the sky is the bluest we’ve ever seen it! Thanksgiving is just around the corner. A time to come together, share, feast (oh I’m feastin’ on pumpkin pie!), and show gratitude.

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People will typically associate this holiday with pilgrims and Native Americans coming together for a great turkey feast and the Native Americans saved the pilgrims from starvation! Yay! Well that’s kind of true. There is a lot more to the story that brought us to the holiday we know now.

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Both the Native American and European cultures incorporated a time for “giving thanks” most commonly associated with a plentiful harvest, rain after a long drought or a new birth. This was practiced long before the famous Thanksgiving in 1621. So what started the famous story?

When the pilgrims arrived they had lost many during the transition to the “New World”. Situations were grim for the survivors. There was however the Wampanoag Tribe who were already living here when the pilgrims arrived. From the tribe, Squanto, a Native American formerly captured by Europeans, came to their aid. He taught them how to grow corn, pumpkins, and beans and how to cook with them.When the pilgrims took what they had learned and created a bountiful harvest, it was time to celebrate. They spent three days pretty much chowing down and getting drunk with the Native Americans. I can’t really say for sure if the Native Americans partook in the drinking but there was definitely alcohol there! The turkey dinner can’t be proven but alcohol there was! Remember that when your setting the table! During this festival, the Europeans went hunting for fowl. They returned with enough ducks and turkey to store for winter! This was the only reference made to turkey. The Native Americans also went hunting and returned with five deer they presented to the governor of the colony. It was a time of appreciation and realizing that there was something to be grateful for. One document describing that day is Mourt’s Relation by Edward Winslow. He describes a three day festival full of activity and he ended with this; “And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

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Let’s not forget that it wasn’t all roses for long. Within 60 years the English overran the Wampanoag. Cheif Metacomet declared war on the Europeans but it unfortunately lead to another gruesome story of genocide. So how did we come to celebrate a narrow window of “peace” shared between the two?

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Thanksgiving kind of bounced around after that. Each president changing it to suit whatever was going on in the nation at the time. Until Lincoln decided to make it an annual holiday in 1863. This was because of many things going on; The Union victory in Gettysburg, the growth in population, the plentiful harvest, and some persistent letters from a Thanksgiving advocate named Sarah Josepha Hale.

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Thanksgiving was a time of appreciating what we had and what we’ve worked hard for and sharing with the ones around us. Now it is a time of football games and hot holiday savings. It gets overlooked by so many. The number of people who celebrate it are dwindling. Some people don’t support how it began. Some people don’t want to interfere with their super shopping. Some people just don’t want to put forth the time. Whatever your reason, if you don’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving that’s your decision. At least though, take one day to be grateful for something…anything. If you truly cannot find a reason to be thankful then go out and do something for someone else. When we help others we realize that we have something special to give and we feel more confident. We need to start changing the way we think. How can we have a perfect Christmas if we can’t be happy with what we already have? The funny thing is, typically the people with the least material items appreciate the world the most. When did we get so caught up with shopping and materialism. There is so much more to life then how much stuff you have.

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If we stop thinking the world owes us something and stop judging each other, it becomes easier to appreciate what’s really important. You start to realize the most important things are always available to you and how much we actually take for granted. With very little effort the world could be a lot happier. For as many problems you find in your life, there is just as many blessings. It just depends on how you want to look at your life.

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I hope Thanksgiving can start becoming what it was originally intended to be. A time to show gratitude, no matter what screwed up things are going on in the world. A time to share with others even though we won’t always have a lot or even be on the best of terms. Life isn’t perfect. Neither are people. The sooner we accept that the more appreciative we can be to one another. Don’t do something with the expectation of getting something in return. It’s easier and more rewarding to be giving when we expect nothing back. Don’t worry, karma won’t leave ya hanging. What you put out there will always comes back around!

Remember, November = Thanksgiving , December = Christmas. Show Santa you deserve presents by showing you can be thankful.

I am thankful to be able to share my life with the two greatest people on the universe, my husband and son. I have no idea how I got by before them. I am thankful for a family who loves me, friends who will always be around, a kick ass companion named Desoto (a.k.a my dog), and I am so thankful I can stuff my face on great food tomorrow! I am very grateful for my talent in art and photography. It is a gift I will not take for granted. I’m also thankful I’m done with this blog post because it took me forever to write it!

What are you thankful for this year and how will you show it? Share your story below!  Oh…and thanks for reading my blog! Have a grateful day!

 

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Dodger: A Big Bad Pit

Have you ever met a dog that you swear just loved to get a rise out of you? For me, that was Dodger. It was a game to him to see how much it would take to annoy me. What do I expect? He was my father-in-law’s dog! When my family and I moved from Ohio to New York, we stayed with my in-laws until we could find our own place. I was able to get to know Dodger very well during our stay. He was an oinker, that’s for sure! The couch was his throne. He wouldn’t jump down for you if you wanted to sit. He wouldn’t move at all actually. “I was here first”, it seemed like he was saying if you tried to move him.

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You’re crazy if you think I’m moving.

He was pretty lazy most of the time. With us bringing our two dogs in the house though, it gave him something to do. They would wrestle and run around outside.

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Swing your partner ’round n’ ’round!

Dodger had a hard time keeping up though. He wasn’t the fastest seeing how he had broken his leg before the humane society found him, where my in-laws got him from. It never healed right so he kind of hobbled around like he had a peg leg. They should have dressed him up as a pirate for Halloween! That would have been awesome! Anyways….the drawing I did was a classic pose for him. He had to stick that peg leg out when he sat down because it wouldn’t bend properly.

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Full view

You would have never guessed he had a bum leg though if you left the garage door open when you let him out.  I’ve had to chase that dog down the street so many times I can’t even count. If we didn’t notice right away, he would usually find a neighbor or another dog outside and go chill with them, until we realized he was gone. One time we were looking for him for 45 minutes. Come to find out he was at the neighbors across the street hanging out in the backyard. They gave him water, food, attention! Why wouldn’t he want to take a stroll through town? It’s a town of dog lovers!

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Puppy Love

Yea…Dodger and I have shared some words in the past! He knew my buttons and he would push every one of them. Then he would snuggle up to me on the couch and kiss ass until I forgave him. Jerk. But then he did something that I couldn’t forgive for the longest time. I started working on this drawing of him. I would work on my art at the dining room table. It was a nice big space and I could leave my stuff out until dinner time so I could work on it through out the day. Bad idea.

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EVIL!!!!

There was no furniture safe from Dodger. He would jump in that chair and jump right on top of the table. Why? So he could see farther out the window and bark at that “killer lady” that walks down the road minding her own business! Yep…muddy paws all over my drawing. A few indented scratches from his claws. I was about half way done with the drawing and he friggin’ gets mud all over it. My immediate thought, “I @&*$# hate this dog!”

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Nothing like a good roll in freshly cut grass!

I tried so hard to get the mud prints off my picture. I tried erasing them. I tried thinking of ways to cover it up. Nothing was working. I was furious. Well that’s it! I can’t work on this picture anymore with out being mad at that damn dog. So it got tucked away for a loooooong time. No like a really long time. I actually had forgotten I started it a couple times.

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Now don’t get me wrong, Dodger was a great family dog. My son spent a lot of his toddler years pouncing on that dog, laying on him, patting his head maybe a bit too hard and Dodger took it all.

He never grumbled, growled, whined or complained. My son was allowed to do whatever he wanted. Luckily for Dodger, my son adored him and treated him like a best friend. He taught my son what a real “man’s best friend” should be. The uncontrollable slobbery kisses in his face were a constant reminder. I couldn’t really hate a dog that was so good with him.

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Do you see Santa yet?

Another lesson Dodger taught my son was the loss of a pet. Dodger passed away this past year. Of course, everyone was heart broken. Dodger had been in the family for a long time. He was always there, causing shenanigans, and then he wasn’t. It was odd at first. After a while though, it kind of felt like he never left. For me at least. I have so many memories with him it’s like I just saw him yesterday.

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You’re seriously sticking that camera in my face, again?

I started going through some unfinished projects I had and I came across the Dodger portrait again. I wasn’t mad about the mud anymore. I was actually happy about it. Now that he was gone, his paw prints were like his signature. A little piece of him to keep forever. I realized instead of trying to get rid of them, I had to make them part of the drawing. I stuck it back on the easel and had a new found desire to finish it. I wanted it to look good. And this time, I knew it could, even if it had a little mud on it. So if you were wondering about the random paw prints throughout the picture, now you know the rest of the story.

Dodger was a knuckle-head but all said and done, he was a good dog. R.I.P. buddy.

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I’m Just Me

Blue print wm.jpgHey All,

How’s the weather! The weather in New York is having mood swings. Yesterday I was outside all day in a T-shirt, warm in the sun. Today, I have a thermal shirt and winter coat on and that breeze is still a bit nippy! That’s just how it goes though.

I finally found a site provider that I really like. As you can tell it’s wordpress. You can make a nice little site, start a blog, very user friendly and I like the way it looks. So here we are! This is the official blog for M. Phoenix Art! What will be discussed you ask? A little bit of everything!

I entitled my blog “Free Spirit Meg”. I have been called a free spirit quite a few times in my life and it seems to sum me up pretty good. I threw my first name in there because this blog is ALL me.

It will be about my work (fine art & photography). I will discuss my techniques, my inspirations, and stories pertaining to my current works. I will continue, as I always have, documenting my life and the world around me through my camera. The only difference is I will be sharing everything with the world from now on. That includes my trials, errors, and lessons learned along the way. Speaking of, I have just recently learned a very valuable lesson and it is one of the reasons I am starting this blog.

I thought I could be an artist and stay hidden from the world. Quiet as a mouse. Just look at my pictures, don’t look at me. Sounds ridiculous, right?  Can anyone say confidence issues!? Not to mention how shy I am. I feel like I’m being judged 24/7 . Like I’m doing something wrong, never making the right decisions, and never being good enough. I’ve noticed that other people’s opinions were affecting me more than I had thought. I don’t actually believe I’m worthless or no good but I kept telling myself that. I argue with myself all the time about what’s proper and acceptable. Then I realized, I’m not arguing with myself. I’m arguing with the people surrounding me that make me feel that way. The influence of outside sources telling me I should be doing something better. Asking me when am I going to do something with my life. Telling me I need to change what I’m doing and the way I’m doing it. Instead of standing up for myself I listened to it. I believed it. And I followed it down a path of misery and paranoia. A life of constant ridicule and saying “Oh, I’ll be happy as soon as I get to this point” and changing things in my life to accommodate to what others thought.

I’m not going to do that anymore. I am my own person. I’ve never really been open about how I truly feel about things. For a while there, I didn’t even know myself. Now…I am me again. I’m not what others say I should be. I’m not doing things that make me unhappy just because that’s what is expected of me. I am a ruler of my own fate and if I don’t grab the reins and take control of my own life, someone else will. I am not a sheep. I am not a dog. I will decide if I need to change my life. I will decide when I am happy. I need to be true to myself and live a more fulfilling life because of it. I am happy with who I am and where my life is and no one will tell me I’m wrong. That’s not their right or choice.

I need to stop hiding who I really am in fear of offending someone else. If you are offended by the type of person I am and how I live, that’s your problem. I am embarrassed it took me this long to realize that. In keeping this blog it will allow me to show my true colors with confidence. I believe in myself and I know I’m a good person. I’m a free spirit and I need to start acting like it. My life becomes a helluva lot happier when I do.

Damn, maybe it’s not just the weather that is having mood swings! To make a long story short, my true essence as an artist will be expressed through my blog. I am very passionate about what I do and the work I create and I will never let anyone tell me it isn’t good enough!

If you can take anything away from this, remember to live your own life. Do what makes you happy. We are all different and view the world in different ways. Have your own voice and don’t let others speak for you. Only you can express what is going on in your head!

Thanks for reading! Until next time…

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