My Abstract Painting ‘Sky’s Layers’ & The Inspiring View from Nature

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”Sky’s Layers” 20×20 (acrylic paint on canvas)

One of the ‘little’ yet priceless and substantial gifts that inspires me is looking at how visually appealing the skies are . The colors really create a beautiful contrast in the sky and I am fascinated with how the aesthetic appears. Besides being outside staring at it, I love when I am on the train siting by a window and see the sun setting in the sky. To me, it is rather refreshing seeing the colors integrate within the sky to create a mesmerizing view after a long day.  I really enjoy painting my own visualization of the many looks that the sky can form. I am thankful and grateful that I get to see such beauty and artwork, something I will never take for granted.

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Inspiration: My Personal Nature/Astronomy Photography Throughout the Years & What It Means to Me

Nature’s enthralling beauty includes the way the sky appears when the sun is rising or setting and how ethereal it looks outside after an afternoon rain shower , which are all examples of daily/common treasures that should not be taken for granted. The way the orange, blue and pink hues in the sky blends together as the sun rises or sets is a (thankfully) re-occurring unparalleled sight to see. Perhaps it is easy to become comfortable with natural scenic views like this as we go about our daily lives, but there is also a refreshing & uplifting inspirational feeling we can receive from nature’s beautiful art. If something is heavy on our minds or we’ve encountered a lot of negativity within a day, sometimes we can find inspiration in daily gifts that are not always in human form. It is even scientifically proven that taking a walk in nature is therapeutic and good for our well being. I encourage us all to continue to remain purely fascinated with life’s natural treasures because it is a healthy & positive perspective to have throughout life. We all find happiness and joy in different things depending on what speaks to our souls/and passions.  Here are a few examples of nature’s art photographed by me throughout different years & changing seasons that makes me smile and thankful…I hope you find beauty in them too!

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Photo taken back in summer 2012. I saved this because it was very beautiful to me! Especially looking above at it, I nicknamed the photo ”Wheel in the Sky Keeps on Turning’ from a Journey song. The song’s lyrics do not actually correlate with the photo precisely, but the title of the song seemed befitting to me and sometimes I also interchangeably nickname this photo as : The ‘Will’ in the Sky Keeps on Turning  (”Will” meaning inevitable events and creations from a higher power/God.

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Photo taken on a snowy day in December 2017. I loved the tree’s aesthetic. It’s so interesting how many trees have been here way longer than us and have been present throughout many different happenings and lives as they come & go. This tree, like others, goes through many drastic changes within a year but it is beautiful no matter the season.

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Photo taken in 2018. Whenever I am walking somewhere, I like photographing the beautiful flowers that I see planted.  Unfortunately, I’ve procrastinated in the past when it comes to planting more of my own flowers, but this spring I am looking forward to actually growing more flowers and doing a little garden work with my mother. Photos like this gives me inspiration and they are so pretty!

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Photo taken in Piedmont Park in 2018. I am so appreciative of scenic views in parks. One of my favorite things to do is go to parks & preserves. There are so many activities I can do there. Just walk and take in all of nature’s aesthetics, have an outdoor lunch on the grass with my Dory from Finding Nemo plush blanket underneath, look at the sun setting or rising, go for a bicycle ride, watch the ducks & other animal sightings, enjoy live music, exercise, paint, pet people’s dogs if they let me,  take photos like this, whatever. The list goes on and on!

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Photo taken in December 2017. This photo (taken with an iPhone) made me decide to invest in a dslr camera instead of taking photos with a phone all of the time. I love astronomy and although I see mesmerizing views with my eyes and a telescope, I really want to start capturing beautiful views like this in better quality. Night time astronomy photography calls for dslr camera quality, and since I’m passionate about astronomy, I’ve been working on my photography more with a different camera. But still, I love & cherish these i-phone shots and I remember looking at it, thinking: ”This is so cool to me”…one of the moments in life that makes me happy.

I encourage us all to never forget the so-called ‘simple’ yet amazing gifts that are a part of nature in this world…it is really all around us. Of course, humans value material things to a certain extent, but let’s not get so focused on just solely these things and forget the priceless treasures that are among us daily.

”To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles”- Mary Davis

Inspiration: My Abstract Expressionist Artwork ”As Nature Entwines” & Personal Interpretation

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I was repeatedly listening to a song called ”It Keeps Coming Back” by jazz musician Norman Brown from his album ”Let It Go” while in the process of creating this. I see abstract expressionism art as what comes and inspires the mind in a spontaneous way without a premeditated blueprint of a specific object…an emotional intensity that is currently happening and being felt while creating without a previous plan.  All that I begin to feel while the song was playing was being released onto the canvas. For me to be able to create my artwork, my innermost impression and mental visualization of the song inspired me.  ‘As Nature Entwines‘ is what I named my artwork after it was finished, which represents what I was visualizing while listening to the song. Nature is a multi-dimensional existence and while listening to the song, I let this perspective lead me while creating. Of course, my artwork cannot be interpreted from just one ”right” perspective because this contradicts the multi-faceted aspects of nature and who we are as individuals with our own mental views.

I am a self-taught artist and recently decided to put more focus on creating my own artworks.  I am excited to create more artwork in the future and it is an amazing feeling to let the current process inspire me. The feeling that is evoked from a song or emotional state while trying my best to transfer what is in my mind  into a physical form, at that very moment, is my inspiration to create.

Art Media Used: Acrylic Paint on stretched gallery wrapped canvas.  ”As Nature Entwines”, 2018. 20×20

Thelma Johnson Streat: Multi-Talented Artist & Trailblazer

Thelma Johnson Streat was a distinctive and multi-talented artist that emphasized intercultural appreciation. One of her most recognized artworks, Rabbit Man, can be seen permanently at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Thelma Johnson-Streat also worked with other iconic artists such as Diego Rivera and she was the first African-American woman to have a painting exhibited at the MOMA in 1942 & her own television program in Paris. Streat was a mixed-media artist, who not only created paintings but also wanted to end stereotypes and prejudice through dance. She performed cultural dances and songs for many children in Europe, Canada, U.S, & Mexico to help them gain an insight & appreciation for cultural diversity. Although she was threatened by ignorant terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Streat did not let this prevent her from expressing herself and emphasizing much needed truthful messages within her creations such as ”Death of A Negro Sailor ” & ”The Negro’s Contribution to Medicine and Veterinary Science”. She also created an educational visual program called ”The Negro in History.” Thelma Johnson-Streat (1911-1959) is an artist and innovative story teller that should not be forgotten. Her artistic expressions and educational works are inspirational and interesting. Here are a few of her acclaimed artworks.

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The Negro’s Contribution to Medicine and Veterinary Science, c. 1945

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Thelma Johnson Streat artwork, title

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Rabbit Man, 1941

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Thelma Johnson Streat Photographed Posing

Art Happenings: Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors Exhibition Tour & Past Artwork Creations

I was very excited to hear that Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ is coming to the High Museum of Art starting in November 2018. I am still thankful and grateful that I decided to become a High Museum of Art member back in 2014 (very cost effective & worth it compared to what you get with each membership type), and it is art collections like ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ that makes me eager to return repeatedly for more than one viewing. Yayoi Kusama (1922- present) is known for her captivating and colorful creations that are concept contemporary artworks with different mediums used. Some of her art includes styles such as surrealism, abstract expressionism, and pop art. Here are some interesting artworks by Kusama, which also includes ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ installation.

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Infinity Mirrored Room, Yayoi Kusama

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Reach Up To The Universe, Yayoi Kusama

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Stars by Yayoi Kusama

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Butterfly-Yayoi Kusama

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Infinity Mirrored Room, Yayoi Kusama

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: With Artwork by Yayoi Kusama

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Yayoi Kusama as a child

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Yayoi Kusama

My Abstract Artwork ‘Volcano Spring’ & Personal Journey Reflection

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Lately I’ve been focusing more on what I am passionate about, which includes creating art. Among other meanings, I also see art as an emotion that manifests itself in physical form. Volcano Spring is what I imagine when the intensity of a suppressed valuable emotion erupts and spreads in the refreshing season of spring. While creating this artwork, I visualized how a feeling can relate to a volcano that is bound to come forth. Not necessarily in a volatile/destructive manner, but to help nurture in a new beginning and coexist with the starting season. The volcano of emotion integrates with vital spring, creating a mixture that is both intense and expressive while nurturing progression. I am currently working on a collection of artworks, and Volcano Spring reflects a natural inevitable occurrence and how it relates to the complex yet beautiful journey of the intense emotional human experience…something that I am going through right now. In our own distinct pathways, we all are.

Volcano Spring, 2018.  (Acrylic Paint on canvas). 20×20

Retrospective: Memorable Artworks of Ernie Barnes

One of Ernie Barnes most famous paintings is The Sugar Shack, which has been used by Marvin Gaye for his legendary album cover I Want You and for the 1970’s syndicated classic show Good Times. The 90’s rap group Camp Lo also paid homage to the original painting with their album cover for the acclaimed Uptown Saturday Night (which included ”Luchini AKA This is It” song). Before Ernie Barnes was a painter, he was a professional football player that played from 1959-1965 for teams such as The Denver Broncos & The San Diego Chargers.  Of course, Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) also created other memorable paintings that are just as noteworthy as The Sugar Shack. Here are some of my favorite Ernie Barnes paintings.

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”The Advocate” by Ernie Barnes

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”His Effort” by Ernie Barnes

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”Room Ful’A Sistahs” by Ernie Barnes

”The Buffalo Soldiers”by Ernie Barnes

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Sugar Shack Painting by Ernie Barnes for  Marvin Gaye’s ”I Want You”

Ernie Barnes photographed painting

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Ernie Barnes photographed behind his artwork

Inspirational Photography: Encouraging Positivity Captured by The Lens

Uplifting photography that represents positive messages are captivating and symbolizes just how beautiful life is…especially the ‘simple’ yet priceless & precious moments/creations we should never take for granted.  Here are some of my favorite photos that are delightful, inspiring, and interesting to reflect on. Of course, people may not always share the same perspectives, but I sincerely hope these amazing photos can inspire more happiness/hope and encourage us all to have a wondrous/positive viewpoint on life.

Children laughing in a field of marigold flowers in Panskura, West Bengal, India. The picture won the Families category in the worldwide photography competition

 

Third place – "Winter Sunrise Over" by Stephen Banks

Stephen Banks/VELUX Lovers of Light 2014

I want to go to Africa someday and take pictures like this and show the would a smile can change all..

 

duckling climbing - a picture is worth a thousand words

David Bitton

 

 

Twin Baby Elephants, East Africa {by Diana Robinson}

Twin Baby Elephants, East Africa by Diane Robinson

Survival

 

 

 

 

A Homage: Marley Marl, Juice Crew & Cold Chillin’ Records Legacy

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During the ‘Golden Era of Hip-Hop’, innovative producer/DJ Marley Marl and DJ Mr. Magic (1956-2009) formed the legendary Juice Crew. Groundbreaking artists that were a part of the Juice Crew created music with Marley Marl on the Cold Chillin’ Records label, which includes Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Masta Ace, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Roxanne Shante, and MC Shan. The collaborative music team helped usher in a new era in music, and of course…there was the well-known ‘beefs’ with the Boogie Down Productions. The famous ”Bridge Wars”, which partly started when lyrics were misinterpreted in MC Shan’s ”The Bridge” and then KRS-One/Boogie Down responded with ”The Bridge is Over” and ”South Bronx”. Not to mention the ”Roxanne Wars” series started by a then 14 year old Roxanne Shante (which influenced at least 100 response songs about the ”real Roxanne” created by different artists). The Juice Crew created a distinct collection of songs that are timeless and a great reference to the ”Golden Era”. Some of my personal favorites includes Biz Markie’s ”Vapors” and Big Daddy Kane’s ‘Long Live the Kane’ album. Marley Marl produced a variety of classic projects, which includes L.L Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ album, and Marley Marl’s first album ‘In Control Volume 1’ introduced one of the most influential and recognized songs in classic rap…”The Symphony”. Some of the legendary artists who consider Marley Marl an influence are Biggie Smalls, RZA, DJ Premier, and Pete Rock. When paying homage to those who helped create the ”Golden Era of Hip Hop”, it is important to always remember innovator Marley Marl and the Juice Crew. Their music still sounds amazing and refreshing.

 

Positive Thought: ‘The World I Know’ by Collective Soul Analyzed

The thought provoking lyrics and perspective of the 1995 classic ‘The World I Know’ by Collective Soul is a great song/video to analyze. How I perceive this song is that it’s okay to question and feel deeply bothered with the state of our world,  but we should always try to not let this reflection prevent us from encouraging more positivity and good progression within our planet. I love this song and whenever I listen to it, the overall composition is compelling to me. I encourage all to never give up on our world…to never be comfortable or numb to the evil & unfortunate happenings that may be prevalent in our world. One of the many beautiful reasons why hope still lingers on is because this world also includes inhabitants/souls who are conscientious, good-hearted and genuinely care to implement/spread positive change. Therefor, let’s never feel as though this world is mainly full of only gloom and despair…because it is not. We all are each equally important & vital in implementing positive change, and there are people who still sincerely care for the pain/suffering others experience.  If we can’t seem to find many, then let’s be one of the light-filled souls we seek and desire. I also love how this video encourages people to never give up on life and that there is always inspiration/positivity we can grow from and contribute to.

Has our conscience shown?
Has the sweet breeze blown?
Has all the kindness gone?
Hope still lingers on
I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don’t know why

Are we listening
Hymns of offering?
Have we eyes to see
That love is gathering?
All the words that I’ve been reading
Have now started the act of bleeding
Into one, into one

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down
‘Cause it’s the world I know
Oh it’s the world I know

I drink myself of newfound pity
Sitting alone in New York City
And I don’t know why, don’t know why

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below
And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down
‘Cause it’s the world I know
Oh it’s the world I know

So I walk up on high
And I step to the edge
To see my world below

And I laugh at myself
While the tears roll down
‘Cause it’s the world I know
Oh it’s the world I know

Songwriters: ED ROLAND, ROSS BRIAN CHILDRESS
© KAREN SCHAUBEN PUBLISHING ADMINISTRATION