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.

My Abstract Landscape Collection: Inspiring View From Nature

My Sky’s Layers abstract artwork inspired me to create a series of paintings inspired by how I view nature’s landscape in different perspectives. Painting abstract landscapes is one of my favorite types of artwork to create. Research studies prove it is healthy for us to spend quality time in a serene nature setting daily. I hope you find inspiration with these abstract paintings and in nature’s amazing beauty!

Inspiration: Keeping Our Child-Like Curiosity & Fascination Throughout Life

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Su Blackwell artwork from series ”Dwelling”

When we were children, many of us asked our parents a thousand questions a day, genuinely eager to learn more & curious about what is around us. When there are trips to science museums or book club days at elementary schools, many children enthusiastically look forward to these simple yet amazing delights. The reason why I still visit public libraries for personal interest is because I love what I’ve found there growing up, and it has influenced me greatly. It started with my mother taking me to the public library often, & within the children’s section I was introduced to books like The Magic School Bus: Lost in The Solar System and Here in Space by David Milgrim. I believe educational books like these helped me become fascinated with astronomy & complex matters relating to space and time. Presently, I love books such as Space Atlas: Mapping The Universe & Beyond, Final Frontier by Brian Clegg, and physicist Michio Kauku’s books because they are amazing to me. Captivating books like the ones mentioned inspires me to ask even more questions due to passionate curiosity, & think of all the endless possibilities that have yet to be discovered. Unfortunately, often times a child’s curiosity and eagerness to extensively explore a variety of different subject matters can decrease. Many blame school systems’ educational curriculum, but learning is a process that never really ends. Of course, we may not find all of the truths of life and answers to questions that are surrounded in mystery…but there are valuable sources available to us for a variety of different topics if we are genuinely interested. I encourage us all to continue having a curious child-like fascination and to inquire more. Our whole lives are an educational opportunity, and it should not be limited. Let’s keep going to our city’s museums, supporting our libraries that are sometimes in threat of closing, reading daily, and exploring different topics beyond just the surface. As children, we are so eager to learn more and even what is considered ”simple” makes us want to discover why/how. So, as we continue on our educational journey (life)… let’s keep that same pure fascination/interest!

Retrospective: Underrated & Under Appreciated Women Pioneers in Hip Hop

We are aware of the many legendary men pioneers & innovators of Hip Hop like Grand-Master Flash, Cold Crush Brothers, and D.J Cool Herc. However, throughout Hip Hop’s history, there has always been iconic female artists who were influential MC’s, producers, and D.J’s. These ladies have never really gotten their full credit compared to their male counterparts. Here is a  brief description of some underrated women Hip Hop innovators & pioneers who deserve much more recognition than they have received so far. Of course, this list is not meant to be exclusive to only the women mentioned here. There are many equally notable underrated women pioneers not included, such as Nikki D, Oaktown’s 357, The Sequence, and so many more. Despite their lack of recognition, they will always be a major influential part of Hip Hop culture and it’s foundation.

238BEATS: #ClassicPic Sweet Tee & DJ Jazzy Joyce

Pioneer D.J Jazzy Joyce (left) with rapper Sweet Tee. 

Although D.J Jazzy Joyce is considered a pioneer female rap D.J/producer, she is still not as celebrated as her D.J/producer male counterparts. She was born in Bronx, New York and has collaborated with other female rappers such as Sweet Tee & produced her 1986 single ‘It’s My Beat’. She began recording in 1983 with Whiz Kid and Globe as a vocalist on the song ‘Play That Beat’.  She participated and won many D.J battles, including winning her first D.J award in 1983 at the New Music Seminar. Some of the artists she has deejayed for and collaborated with includes the 90’s rap trio ‘Digable Planets’,  M.C Lyte, Rich Nice, Africa Bambataa, and Nenah Cherry. Black Girls Rock awarded Jazzy Joyce and named their D.J award the ‘Jazzy Joyce D. J Award. Currently, she is a producer on New York’s Hot 97 radio station.

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D.J Debbie D (left) & D.j Wanda Dee

Here's a Tribute to Some of the Women MCs Who Raised Hip-Hop (THE ...

D.J Debbie D

D.J Debbie D was born in Harlem, but raised in the Bronx. She was the only female M.C with the 1979 rap group D.J Patty Duke & The Jazzy 5. She got her first start as a M.C while attending summer D.J block parties in 1977. After going solo in 1981, she began calling herself ‘The Grand Mistress’ and was one of the first Hip Hop female soloists. After joining the group US girls, she was featured in the film Beat Street, and collaborated with the Juice Crew as an M.C Soloist as well. D.J Debbie D is not only one of Hip Hop’s first female rappers, but a fashionable pioneering Fly Girl who is now a published author, earned a doctorate, and a preacher.  She has a non-profit organization called Us Girls, which aims to empower women and girls.

 

Sweet Tee | Discography | Discogs

Rapper Sweet Tee and her 1988 song ‘On The Smooth Tip’

M.C Sweet tee was born in Queens New York and was signed to Pioneer Records. Her first single was the 1986 ‘It’s My Beat’ featuring female D.J/producer Jazzy Joyce. Her debut album included the hit ‘On The Smooth Tip’ in 1988 . Some of her associated acts includes Kwame, Salt-n-Pepa, and Antoinette.

Bahamadia - Hip Hop Golden Age Hip Hop Golden Age

Rapper Bahamadia

Underrated lyricist and rapper Bahamadia was born in Philadelphia, and debuted her first album Kollage in 1996, which featured the classic single ‘Uknowhowwedu’. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with artists such as The Roots, Jedi Mind Tricks, Morcheeba, Guru, and Erykah Badu.

Exhibitions, events celebrate hip-hop culture | Cornell Chronicle

MC Sha Rock (center) of the ‘Funky Four Plus 1’

MC Sha Rock was born in North Carolina, but raised in the Bronx, New York. She is one of the first female rappers and is often dubbed as the ‘Mother of the Mic’. The Funky Four + 1 was one the first rap groups to appear on television and MC Sha Rock inspired many other legendary female rappers like MC Lyte and ‘DMC’ of rap trio Run DMC with her style of rapping on early mixtapes. She began rapping with the Funky Four + 1 in the late 70’s and also began her career as a b-girl/break dancer as well. She was affiliated with the Zulu Nation, and she had her first hit as a member of  The Funky Four + 1 with their 1979 hit ‘Rock The House’ on Sugar Hill Records and the 1980 hit ‘That’s The Joint’.

 

 

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

Daily Gratitude: Sentimental Moments, Blessings, & Perspective!

Recently I created a list of things I consider blessings that makes me happy. I believe it’s important to remind ourselves daily how blessed we truly are…to never stop being thankful & reflective as we continue to work towards our goals. I hope you have a list of blessings that makes you feel genuinely happy as well. Let’s make time in our daily schedules to reflect on our individual lists & keep on striving forward!

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

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

Inspiration: Being There For Friends/Love Ones Who Are Always There For Others

Often times there are people in our lives who seem to always be there for others,  but may feel as though no one is truly available when they need genuine care & support. Whether it is a simple phone call to check on our love-ones just to see if they are okay or need someone to talk/listen to…our time being available matters. Of course, we all have those love-ones who may claim they do not want to talk about ‘it’ or to ”leave them alone”, but they just may not be ready to open up about what is bothering them.  For an example, sometimes one of my love-ones may claim to not want to converse or talk about something that is bothering him/her at the moment, but I still let them know that I am there if they need someone to listen or talk to. Also, if they refuse to open up about the situation or seem detached, we can tell our love-ones ”I pray/hope you triumph over what you’re going through and I love you”. One of the least positive/effective things we can do is detach ourselves emotionally or mentally just because we have our own obstacles going on in life. No one is perfect, and we may not get it right all of the time when it comes to knowing when someone we care for is hurting, but all it takes is sincere effort and communication. Let’s not take our blessings for granted or only call the ones we claim to care about when we need something. Let’s be there and make sure they do not feel neglected or alone. Unfortunately, there are some people who consider themselves without family or someone who genuinely cares. For those people who feel that way, please know people exist around the Earth who may not know you personally but we are constantly praying & rooting for you, and trying to help in some way… and that is a genuine form of caring!

Feel Good Song Inspiration: Golden Time of Day by Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly

This beautiful song has a peaceful and serene vibe to it, one that inspires with it’s lingering melody and inspirational lyrics. This song reminds me of so many simple yet lovely/amazing things in life, and I can visualize the tone, feeling, & mood of what Frankie Beverly is describing in the song. The overall composition is timeless, and although this song was made in 1978, it is still modern/current, very relevant and positive.

 

                              Golden Time of Day

There’s a time of the day when the sun is going down
That’s the golden time of day
It’s a time that the sun turns a gold all around
That’s the golden time of day
At the end of the day when the wind is soft and warm
Don’t it make the flowers sway

When the sun settles down and it takes a lovely form
That’s the golden time of day

People let me tell you
There’s a time in your life when you find who you are
That’s the golden time of day
In you mind you will find your a bright shining star
Ooh that’s the golden time of day
When you feel deep inside all the love your lookin’ for
Don’t it make you feel ok
Like the time of the day when the sun is going down
That’s the golden time of day
That’s the golden time of day
That’s the golden time of day

Shining can’t you see it shining ooh ooh ooh ooh
Shining can’t you see it shining ooh ooh ooh ooh