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Life Poems – Dance

Dance of Life

What is this 'dance of life'? We step and hop, get down, skip, leap, gambol, and romp.
Where are we in this dance?
     Some like to swing and spin. Others play at bossa nova. I've seen many strike a pose, posture, and stomp. Do they ever get what they want?
     Many follow the same old tune. They walz, plie`, promonade, sashay. In times of frenzy, we jig, reel, quiver, convulse. Seeking to find release.
In times of glee, we samba, jitterbug, twist and shout, soft shoe, or fox trot.
At times, we use the dance to intimidate. I see a whirling tarantella, a prancing flamenco, bull-fighting bolero, a cassock daring, and a couple positioning in a bold, dynamic tango.

But the serious mechanic demonstrates precision by taking a moonwalk glissade, twisting their bellies, spinning on their heads or back-bending a limbo under a pole.

The Irish clog, the Polish polanaise, Chubby twisted, and the French kicked the can-can.

Let's not forget romance. That main purpose of dance to entice, entangle, move together, move apart. The romantic lambada, cha cha, waltz, booty dancing, swinging, bumping, and again the tango.

At parties the gang is all in to conga, catillian, minuet, twist, do-si-do, promenade and dixie chain. 

This man, he makes excuses to dance. He dances to the rain, to the gods, to life, liberty, to birth, marriage, war, and death.

Where are you in this dance of life? Where do you choose to be?
There are wanna be's, watchers, sitting on the side lines waiting to be asked. There are show-offs looking to the lime-light, seeking fame. The leaders invite, gather, and start the ball. Encouragers give hope to the novice and compliment the learners. The professionals teach and emphasize skill and perfection. They are the graceful, lovers of precision, working 'til their feet bleed.

But isn't dance a thing to admire and experience and feel? Isn't dance beauty, grace, expression?

Listen to the rhythm of your song. Is it noise? Is there a beat? Sometimes our feet become tangled. I usually go left when others go right. It's awkward to follow the crowd though that's what our mind wants. It tells us fit in, stay in line, don't cross the line. But our soul may be singing its own song. 

Maybe it's time to stomp, kick, or clomp. Or it may be time to sashay, skip, or swing. 

How about we take time to twirl like a child whose spirit is free. Spin, spin, spin until dizzily we drop,  recover and we dance some more. Anyone want to Lindy hop?

Artwork sample
The Dance of this life
Here is a journal page I made about dance. Using Stencil Girl Products stencil "Dance of Life" for the figures and words. I may use it in the memory books for my mom.
  • Stencils – Sjodin m217 “The dance of this life”, and borders
  • various brands acrylic paints
  • Gelli Arts gell plate
  • Ranger distress crayons
  • Carun Dache Crayons – neo color II water soluble
  • Prismacolor water color pencils
  • canson pastel paper – gold neutral
  • New Artist Bio and Event Page

    Good Day. Decided to start up my blog again after holding off for a while. I was revamping the site and adding some features which I hope will be helpful. I added a page titled /ArtsyNews for artist biographies and event notifications. I’m still working on that a little bit and need to make some contacts to set these features into motion. My plan is to provide an online questionnaire for artists to help choose featured artists and use it to assist in writing the biography.

    On the home front, we have been in our home for two and a half years now, time flies. We are lagging behind in our landscaping goals. We lost some trees in a storm in August and had to have the stumps removed. Also, we decided to move some of the soil from the area where the tree was over to the front yard to gentle the slope. Winter set in so we’ve been waiting to bring in more landfill and finish off the retaining wall. We recently bought two sweet Australian Shepherd-mix puppies and they are growing fast. We are now going to build a fence for them in the yard in the next few weeks, weather permitting.

    Besides designing the web page and gardening, I’ve been learning watercolor skills and practicing my sketching.

    Here are two of my recent watercolors. On Fabriano i264 140lb cold press paper.

    Old Italian gentleman, professor
    Coosawattee River Stop Over
  • Happy New Year

    Welcome to 2024! I am making some changes to my website. So, if you notice things are different or keep changing, that’s the reason. I’ve added some new templates which have placeholder text which may not pertain to my site. Until everything is working as I like it, I probably won’t post much content. Thank you for your patience.

  • Adding texture to drawings.

    In recent drawing exercises, I wanted to add some dimension and texture to portraits. This is mostly done using a variety of line shape, line size including length and thickness. We can also use line in shadowing areas or changing the direction of the shading.

    My husband recently gave me a book for reference so I could improve my sketching and drawing skills. The book by Paul Calle, “The Pencil” copyrighted in 1974 by North Light Publishers, is a true inspiration. The book showcases a variety of his drawings and illustrations which he uses to demonstrate a variety of skills. Paul says “his study of wood engraving had the most influence on the technical direction that my drawings have eventually reached.” One technique he uses is using patterns of strokes that lead the eye and give volume to the body or object. Paul includes a chapter on values and textures with illustrations of various lines and patterns to practice. He talks about paper texture, and suggests using a variety of pencils.

    I am not reproducing any of the samples in the book, though, I am suggesting that you find a copy for yourself. (If you can find a copy).

    Instead, I am including a couple of my drawings where I tried out some of the techniques.

    These subjects were both elderly and had lots of wrinkles that added to the line and texture. The drawings were from photographs, I found in my stash of drawing subjects. On the female subject, I tried to capture the texture of the velvet collar and variety of line direction, light and dark to capture the plaid of her jacket. It was fun adding a variety of marks to render freckles, hair, eyebrows, and shadows. For the dark background I used a 6b black watercolor pencil and a water brush to form diagonal brushstrokes to direct the eye. I tried several tools to make the white fly away hairs, including pen, colored pencil, erasure, but the most success I had was acrylic white diluted with water and dabbed in places.

    The patterns of shadows in the jacket and shadowing on the face and neck were rendered in a variety of graphite pencils in HB, 3B, and 6B. In some places I used a stump to blend. It was fun learning how to add the wrinkles with line and erasure. For the freckles and hair stubble I used pencil point and squiggly marks with HB and 3B. It was difficult capturing the eyes, because they were so squinty and the photograph didn’t show any iris. I mostly used line and shadow to depict the shapes. At the last minute, I decided to add a watercolor background. I added some purple to add contrast to the dark blacks.

    I hope you can find this book. If not, see if you can find some of his artwork online. In 1962, Mr. Calle participated in the Air Force Historic Art Program and the Artists in the Park program initiated by Mr. James E. Webb administrator of the National Space and Aeronautics Administration. Calle was fortunate to be able to produce illustrations of some NASA rocket launches and the first astronauts into space. Some of these are reproduced in Calle’s book. Have fun with this.

  • Water and Wood Textures

    Welcome to my blog. Here is where I discuss various projects I’ve been working on. I’ve been experimenting with different arts and crafts mediums for several years. Currently, I am working to improve my drawing and painting skills. I have posted some of my current works on my facebook page and instagram. I am always open to questions and comments.

    Remember to fill out the contact/email form to be informed of specials, events, answers to questions.

    Hi all, and welcome to my blog. I’ve been practicing watercolor techniques and focusing on backgrounds and different textures in nature. In this project, I worked from a photograph I took of a heron bird that was fishing in a dock area. The backdrop to the bird was a bay with a pier that separated it from the ocean, a tip of the island, and a blue sky with pale purple clouds.

    The first rendering I tried and which I wasn’t satisfied with, was quite a challenge. The sky came out well though. The first thing I did was lay down the wash of the sky and while it was damp, dropped in some violet for the clouds. Next I used a cotton ball to dab around the cloud edges to soften and blend into the sky. After masking out around many of the edges of the features that were next to the water, I laid a wash of ultramarine blue for the water. Then, I focused on the islant details adding a couple palm trees. Next, I worked down the page painting in the details of the pier, wood moorings, dock features and a boat. There were various wood tones and water marks to depict. Last I rendered the bird and worked on feather details and facial markings. Lastly, I went back to the water to try to add wave textures, highlights, shadows, ripples, on the water with browns, and Cerulean Blue. Well, the water came out blotchy and the shadows and reflections around the wooden posts came out messy.

    On my second try, the wood beams and post textures and colors came out better. This time I used Ultramarine blue for the deep ocean, cerulean for the bay and foreground around the docks. Still the water area in the mid-ground came out blotchy and overworked and the reflections of the posts still looked messy. My artist husband suggested taking some of the focus off the pier and island as they detracted from the heron.

    Here is the final painting. I’m not too happy with the sky and may, in the future, try again. This time, I removed the palm trees and blurred the pier and island to keep the focus more on the bird. The details of the wood posts jutting out of the water a more subtle but the contrasts between light/dark are more definitive.

    Great Heron 3

    Here is my reference photo. The coloring is off because it is a photocopy print. I also had better prints for reference on the colors. I altered somewhat. I took out a large post and eliminated some of the boards at the bottom. I placed the seagull on a shorter post.

    I think the bird detail and coloring are good and stand out. This time with the water, I first did a wash of Cerulean Blue then when the details were all finished, I added some texture with ultramarine blue with a sea sponge that I dabbed in the paint. Overall it was fun experimenting with the colors for the wood, the heron, and the water.

  • Project Themes – visiting the past

    “Nostalgia: A device that removes the ruts and potholes from memory lane.” — Doug Larson

    Goings On

    I’m a little behind on my posting this month. Not only have I been focusing on the art journal classes I’ve been taking, but Mike (my husband) and I have been analyzing places where we would like to live now that we’ve retired. It is not an easy task as no place really meets all a person wants or needs nor fits their lifestyle.

    We thought we’d narrowed it down to Maine. It seemed nearly ideal – ocean, mountains, woods, small towns, beautiful and plentiful lakes, great artist communities, and cool summers. We’d almost convinced ourselves we’d do okay in the cold winters. The other drawback was it’s quite far from Florida where our kids and grandkids live and the property taxes are high. We had planned a trip last May to find land or speak to realtors but then Lockdown happened. We canceled and planned to go this May. But you know how plans seem to get side-tracked? Mike got an email from a land developer in North Georgia. Well, we had also thought about living in the Blueridge/Smokey mountains. So, we booked an appointment to go to the land sale.

    So, we saw the land 3.7 acres in the woods with a view of the mountains – a gated community that provides electric, water, roads, security, and a clubhouse. We hardly ever make a decision spontaneously, but we did this time, and bought the lot. So we’ve been quite busy planning this month.

    Art Project Ideas – Where do they come from?

    I do have a new project for which I am collecting new ideas. Think of your favorite things such as books you’ve read, a movie you saw, sports you’ve enjoyed. Maybe you have an interest in history, or favorite people you admire that you would like to illustrate. Some artists like to focus on social issues of the day. Other people want to capture the beauty of nature. Really the sky is the limit if you use your imagination and just have fun. Some projects may take a bit of research, planning, or preparations.

    I have seen the movie “Out of Africa” which resonated with me. I guess it is because I’ve always dreamed of going there to see the wild animals and meet the native peoples. I also have always admired the pioneering spirit that the movie portrayed. Currently, I am reading the book by Karen Blixen for whom the movie was based on. The book is memoirs of her life on the coffee plantation she had in Africa in the early twentieth century. The movie follows the book closely. Her descriptions are rich and poetic inspiring me to make some mixed-media art pieces based on these writings.

    Gel Plate Transfer with Photograph

    Another project I am continuing to work on is the scrapbooks of my mother and father. Here is a journal page I made about my maternal grandmother.

    Grayce Ann Sharp, age 26

    This journal page was created for one of my Wanderlust classes but I intend to make another print like it for the scrapbook I will make about my Mom. I printed a black and white photo of my grandmother. We used two prints one as a reference under the gelli plate and another as the surface to receive the gel print. This was to have an Andy Worhall style. Place a cut out of the photograph image face down on gel plate using the other image underneath the gel plate as a guide. Next paint using one or several colors with a brush or brayer around the template for background. Transfer by pressing the journal page or substrate onto the gel plate and rub it, pull it off. The paint should transfer to the leaving a blank area where the cut out was placed. Clean plate if you want. Choose a highlight color. Again, using the tracing paper under the gel plate as a reference, paint that color onto the highlighted areas showing through, directly onto the gel plate. Using the cut out print of photograph, place the paper carefully over the gel plate lining up the paper so images line up. Gently press then pull off paper. The paint should transfer over to that cut-out image in the highlighted areas. Continue the same procedure with the mid-tones and the dark-tones always transferring to the same cutout image. I found it useful to clean the plate between each layer. I did the light pink first, then the yellow, next the orchid. When the paint dried I embellished a little on the sweater with white and orchid. Next glue the cut out image onto the background substrate. I used a marker to journal and added some writing with a white paint pen and I outlined the portrait in silver ink. Add splashes and sprinkles with paint. It took me a couple tries to get it right. Experiment with bright and bold color schemes.


    Thanks to Kasia Avery producer of #wanderlust 2021, who also gives some of the weekly lessons and suggested tapping into memories, books, movies, music to inspire ongoing projects..

    Suppliers: Gelli Arts – gel plates, Arteza acrylic paints, Arteza journal.

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