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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

I sketched this scene while visiting Zion National Park in Utah, one of my favorite places.

      “It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.” — Vita Sackville-West

Pen or Computer? Or Both?

My normal early morning routine is to get up, brush my teeth, put moisturizer on my face, dress (or simply put a coat over my pajamas) and walk my canine companion Pepper. Back in my apartment, I sit down with a cup of cream-laced coffee, write at least two pages in my journal, and read the NY Times digital version.

An old Remington typewriter, similar to the one I used to write my first mystery novel draft, which languishes somewhere in my writing files.

The journal writing ritual, I finally learned, clears my head and makes my days more productive. I begin by writing about my walk, the weather, anything significant from the day before, and perhaps my dreams, if they’re still rolling around in my head. This usually takes up a page in my journal. If writer’s block sets in, I start perusing the newspaper, letting the day’s headlines bring into focus my own thoughts on the issues,

This morning, as I was writing, I noted that I let each of the next words roll around in my brain before I scrawled my pen’s bold black ink across the page. When using the computer my thoughts often seem to be more connected to my fingers than my brain. I’m not conscious about what I’m going to write, I just do it.

This effortless means of writing means my fingers tap out thoughts that I didn’t know were in my head.  I’m usually pleased with the outcome. It’s as if my fingers subconsciously know what my brain hasn’t yet acknowledged.

Why do the writing tools affect me so differently, I asked myself this morning, posing the question in ink in my journal? The answer that popped into my brain was that I took the time to think before using my pen because I wanted to keep my journal neat and didn’t want to have to black out a word, or two.

On a computer, if my fingers get ahead of my brain, I can simply delete the wrong words with no fuss or bother – unlike in my early years of writing using a typewriter.

Occasionally, I miss that old Remington. There was a calming satisfaction that came with the act of yanking a sheet of paper out of the typewriter, crumbling it up into a ball, and tossing it into a wastebasket.

It was an action that refreshed the brain, usually for the better.

Bean Pat: Six Word Saturday https://lingeringvisions.wordpress.com/2018/02/17/  The shoe was actually a boot. My favorite piece was the top hat, until the Scottie dog was added to the monopoly pieces in the 1950s. And today I have a Scottie dog, well at least half of her. The other half might be a schnauzer.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book she calls Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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Bubba Bear

“Today I chose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin

Surviving the Day

I call him Bubba Bear. He is huge and old, with a large scar across his nose, testifying to his survivor skills. Bubba stands in shallow water, facing me as I sit and drink my cream-laced coffee in an easy chair in my living room. He looms over my writing desk that sits across the way, his eyes pouring more energy into my being than the caffeinated drink I am sipping.

I bought the large, framed photograph in Park City, Utah, the weekend after I was named city editor for the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden, Utah. It was both a gift to myself for the promotion, and a reminder to myself that I needed to be touch enough to handle the job ahead. As the former city editor told me before leaving, “Supervising reporters is like herding cats.”

The treasured photograph hung in the living room of my Ogden home, where I could see it every morning before I left for work, until I retired in 2004 to go gallivanting all across the country in an RV. For those nine years, it was on loan, and hung in the home of a good friend. When I settled in Tucson in 2013, I retrieved it.

This morning as I look at Bubba and drink in the energy from his stare. I find myself thankful for being alive and still moving, even if a bit slower these days. Life is good. Thanks for the reminder Bubba.

Bean Pat: Nature Has No Boss http://tinyurl.com/y85q2c5l  Black-necked stilt. I used to see these all the time in the shallow waters of Great Salt Lake.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact Bean at patbean@msn.com

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“A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.” — Ernest Hemingway

Great Horned Owl — Painting by Pat Bean

What Big Beautiful Eyes You Have

Back when I was a normal person and still a working journalist, I found myself eagerly accepting assignments that involved birds, which is how one day I found myself traveling in a van through the Bonneville Salt Flats on Highway 80 between Salt Lake City and Wendover, Nevada, with seven members of HawkWatch International, an organization that monitors raptors as an indicator of the ecosystem’s health.

My goal was to monitor and report on the HawkWatchers.

Eves of a great horned owl. — Wikimedia photo

The first notes I made were about all the birds these seven guys were seeing, mostly turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks. I had driven this route before and had never seen a bird while doing so. That was the day I learned the difference that separates a birdwatcher and a normal person.

Then, after we had entered Nevada and left the interstate and civilization behind, and were driving on an unpaved backroad, one of the guys yelled “Stop! There’s an owl in that cottonwood tree.”

The driver stopped, and all of the guys oohed over the owl, which they had quickly identified as a great-horned. Even after one of the men pointed out to me where the bird was sitting, it took me a couple of minutes to actually see it. But when I did, its giant yellow eyes popped open and it stared straight at me. “Wow” was all I could think as we piled back in the van.

I was well on my way to losing my status as a normal person and becoming one of those crazy birdwatchers

Bean Pat: FrogDiva Thoughts http://tinyurl.com/y7ttlp6q Just do right. A message for these times from my hero, Maya Angelou.

Travels with Maggie, is now available on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y9gjlc7r Or for an autographed copy, email me at patbean@msn.com

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The Blue Bench — painted by Pat Bean

“Truly the bench is a boon to idlers. Whoever first came up with the idea is a genius: free public resting places where you can take time out from the bustle and brouhaha of the city, and simply watch and reflect.” – Tom Hodgkinson

Sitting, Watching and Listening

Dock benches at Tom’s Cove Campground on Chincoteague Island in Virginia. — Photo by Pat Bean

When I was a beginning birdwatcher, I thought patience was only an activity for couch potatoes. This non-activity simply wasn’t part of my vocabulary – or my life. But the birds I wanted to see didn’t always, in fact seldom, showed up in a timely fashion.

“Learn to sit quietly for half an hour and you won’t be disappointed,” a birding mentor told me. But 10 minutes was all I could manage for the first couple of years. I had to work up to it, but finally I caught on.

A bench at the Amherstburg Navy Yard in Ontario, Canada.

 

And once I did that, I began looking for places with interesting views to sit. And lo and behold I discovered the joy of benches. The blue one above, which I painted from a photograph (below left),

was located at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. It looked out over a meadow filled with tall, grassy reeds where yellow-headed blackbirds could frequently be found.

The benches on the top left were located on a dock on Chincoteague Island in Virginia, where I spent a week. Gulls and boat-tail grackles liked to gather here.

And the photo on the right above was taken in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, where I watched a blue-winged teal swim about in the harbor and house sparrows pecking about in flowerbeds.

Sitting on a bench, in a delectable nature setting, has now become one of my “activities.”

It is much better any day than sitting meditation, which so far, I haven’t managed to do for more than five minutes at a time. My busy brain just won’t turn off when Mother Nature, and birds, aren’t around to keep my attention focused.

I guess you can now call me a bench potato.

Bean Pat: The Page Turner http://tinyurl.com/y9b2y3z3 Enjoy the photography of John Macdonald. I did.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is soon to be released. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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A Funky Bird: Just a fun painting to get your attention. — By Pat Bean

“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.” Harper Lee            

Three of a Kind

            I enjoy reading pretty much all genres of books except horror and true crime. Usually, I have about five books that are in my reading stack and a dozen or more eagerly waiting to be moved up to it. Most often the books in the reading stack include a mystery, a travel book, a fantasy novel, a book on writing and one other.

I just noticed, however, that my current reading stack includes three books on writing and journaling. I’m not sure exactly how this came about, but all three are by writers I admire.

The first is The Sound of Paper by artist and author Julia Cameron, who also wrote the Artist’s Way and many other books. She urges writers to do morning pages. This was something I was sometimes doing, but since picking up Julia’s book, I have been doing it faithfully. She urges three pages, but my goal is only two, although once I get started and let the brain take over, I usually end up with three or more. I find this morning journal writing helps focus my day. Her second rule is that we make an artist’s date with ourselves once a week, and the third is that we take daily walks. I already do the latter, and agree that it’s the best time in the world for thinking. As for the artist’s date with myself, I think that’s a great idea.

The second book in my stack is Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg, whose books Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones I have also read. This is Natalie’s memoir in which she talks about finding her way as a writer. It echoes many of my own writing thoughts, and is a delight to read. I especially love Natalie’s vivid way with words

The third book in my stack is A Trail Through Leaves by Hannah Hinchman, whose A Life in Hand I have also read. While I found the first two books at my local library, I got Hannah’s secondhand on line after being unable to find one at the library. Like Julia, Hannah is also an artist and encourages the use of art work in journaling. Since it is full of illustrations, I’m glad I will be able to add it to my own library, or to pass it along to someone else who will enjoy it. My small apartment simply can’t keep all the books that come into my possession.

So, what are you reading?

Bean Pat: Lighthouse on a Cliff http://tinyurl.com/y8fj75pg

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Quotes from my Journal

A good road trip includes plenty of time to stop and smell the flowers along the way. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal. Take long walks in the woods.” Robin S. Sharma

One That Gave Me a New Dream

I love quotes, which is why each chapter in my soon to be published, Travels with Maggie, starts off with one about travel. Quotes also generously weave their way through my journals. Occasionally I’ll come across one that leaves me wondering what I was thinking when I wrote it, because it has little meaning for me this second time around. Others that I come across, are as significant to my life today as they were the first time around.

Here are a few that I think worth repeating:

“Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.” – Thomas Edison

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

“There are so many ways to lose your life besides dying.” – Mark Jenkins

“Oh, godddamit, we forgot the silent prayer!” – Dwight Eisenhower (This one simply because it made me laugh.)

“Happiness isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.” – Garth Brooks

“Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me … leading wherever I choose.” – Walt Whitman

And plenty of time to bird watch as well. — Anhinga watercolor by Pat Bean

That last was my life for nine years, and maybe it will be once again. A road trip is

brewing in my little gray cells. A good long one to celebrate my 80th birthday in two years.

I need to step foot in my 50th state. The only one I haven’t visited. And it’s not Alaska or Hawaii. It’s little old Rhode Island, which I missed because I stayed too late up north the year I was just 20 miles from its border. I had to scamper south to escape a storm and cold weather. The more northern RV parks had already closed for the winter.

My initial thoughts for my proposed road trip to Rhode Island are that I travel no more than 300 miles a day, then sit out a day. I can write a book about it and call it Travels with Pepper, a sequel to my soon-to-be-published Travels with Maggie.

It’s a round trip of just over 5,000 miles from Tucson – I just looked the mileage up. But I take back roads and side-trips, so add at least another 1,000 miles. I figure it will take at least two months to do a leisurely loop to there and back, a southern route going and a northern route returning.

Now I have two years to figure out how to finance it, and where to stay along the way. I spent five years planning my nine-year, gallivanting RV days to make my dreams come true. Planning this road trip should be a piece of cake – and darn fun as well.

People need dreams. I’m glad I have a new one.

Bean Pat: Twenty Minutes a Day http://tinyurl.com/l26vy2x One of my favorite bloggers, and I love this Fort Worth museum. I think the portraits featured in the blog are great fodder for writers. Each face tells a story.

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An Art Project

            “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”– Pablo Picasso

My art project for the day.

My art project for the day.

I Call It Entangled Passion

            It began with my friend Jean coming across an odd-sized free frame, which she gave to me. I pondered if I had anything among my art pieces that would fit it – but the answer was a negative.

Illustration of a poured painting in Just Paint It.

Illustration of a poured painting in Just Paint It.

The next step came when I checked out an art book at the library, titled Just Paint It by Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp. The book was subtitled: The world’s most enjoyable painting course ever – and its first lesson was a pour painting, with the illustration that is pictured here on the left.

I loved the example, and then thought of the frame and its heavy wood backing, which for my next step I painted white with some acrylic paint I had on hand. I let that dry overnight, then picked out five colors from some old gouache tubes of paint, which I seldom used.

I used five plastic cups and mixed each of the colors with a little water, then one at a time I poured the colors on the board, which I had propped up at about a 60-degree angle.

Gravity, with a few touchups from me, did the rest. I love how the colors all dripped and blended together. After it was dry, and I had reinserted the board into the frame, I stared at it for a while, decided I liked it, then named it “Entangled Passion.”

But perhaps you have a better name.

Bean Pat: A New Day https://imissmetoo.me/2017/01/27/filters-and-artists/ Another artist who is having fun.

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