SHIPS, CANDLES and A SPECIAL VISIT

MY LIFE IN 6 WORDS: We are a nation of nations!

So many of us have been missing our dear ones because of COVID-19. We can’t travel to where they are, nor can they come to us. In my case, we have our most dear ones in Canada and the Canadian border is closed. But, since our daughter has dual citizenship, she finally felt safe enough to visit us, using her American passport. (Unfortunately, she has to quarantine for two weeks on her return to Canada.) We can visit her (permitted for FAMILY,) but we’d have to quarantine for two weeks also…before we were able to do anything…too hard after being cooped up at home for so long! Well…we had a most wonderful visit after not seeing one another in person for 7+ months. I’m ever grateful for FaceTime, but there’s nothing like hugging your daughter IN PERSON!!! We didn’t do much during our visit…mostly just basked in the presence of one another, shopped a bit and ATE!! Looking forward to the next visit…this time, with our grandkids (whom we miss soooo much!)

On to art challenges for the week, starting with SUNDAY POSTCARD ART’s request to see SHIPS in our work…(sundaypostcardart.wordpress.com)…

Immigration IS the American way!

…and DIGITAL WHISPER (digitalwhisper.blogspot.com) challenged artists to create a piece with candles included. So…

Short posting…hope to see you for my next.

Stay healthy but enjoy living your life!

Big Hugs,

abbyj

EDUARDO RECIFE: DIGITALMANIA

MY LIFE IN 6 WORDS: Art is a celebration of life.

EDUARDO RECIFE, this week’s inspiring artist for art challenge group, DIGITALMANIA, (https://www.flicker.com/groups/digitlmania,) is an artist, illustrator and typographer from Brazil known for his distinct collage style combining vintage imagery, magazine cuts, textures,, stains and many details and symbols…very interesting art. He’s actually one of my favorites. I had fun trying to emulate his style. Here are some of his works…

and here’s what he inspired in me…

Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a healthy, joy-filled week ahead. Hope to see you next posting.

Big Hugs,

abbyj

SECRETS, TRAINS and LAYERS

MY LIFE IN 6 WORDS: Some of my secrets are now out!

POST SECRET is an ongoing community mail art project, created by Frank Warren in 2005. People anonymously mailed in their secrets, written and illustrated on a homemade postcard. It’s a fun idea that DIGITALMANIA’s challenge group (https://www.flicker.com/groups/digitlmania) has decided to make their theme this week. Loved doing this…

SUNDAY POSTCARD ART’s art challenge blog (sundaypostcardart.wordpress,com,) has picked one of my favorite themes for the week…trains. I have always had a love for all kinds of trains and it continues to be my preferred means of travel (when possible.) Here are my entries…

and finally, THE THREE MUSES (thethreemuseschallenge.blogspot.com) asked participating artists to create a piece of art with many LAYERS. All they had to do was ask…

Wishing you a productive, enjoyable and healthy week ahead.

Stay safe…

Big Hugs,

abbyj

ARTFUL READERS CLUB “An Elephant in the Garden” by Michael Morpurgo

MY cover for this book…

It’s no secret that I love elephants, historical fiction and adventure. This book, “AN ELEPHANT in the GARDEN” satisfied all those loves.

Not a typical WWII story, it’s a sweet tale that touches only lightly on the horrors of the war. Instead, we learn the perspectives of non-Nazi German citizens and their struggles with becoming fugitives in their own country…with a rescued elephant in tow. It’s not littered with facts but rather, with real feelings.

During WWII, Dresden, Germany was blasted and bombed unmercifully. This is a novel about an elderly woman, (Lizzie,) now in a nursing home, who recounts the story of her brave mother who worked at the local Dresden Zoo. Fearing that an elephant she had tended since birth would die in the war, she brought the animal home. Based on a real story the author came upon, Lizzie tells her life story to one of her nurses and the woman’s 9 year old son.

It’s the story of her family (minus her father, who was serving in his country’s military,) …her Mutti, who escaped the bombings in Dresden with a daughter (now the storyteller, Lizzie,) her son and Marlene. This group of refugees form a family with Marlene, the elephant, (named after Marlene Dietrich,) who work together to escape the bombings and the Russians by heading west, towards safety and the American allies.

It’s a beautifully written tale of survival, loss, unusual friendships and hope. While the author doesn’t shy away from the harshness of war, there’s no fighting or killing in this story. He shares how his characters feel about the war around them and recounts how little acts of kindness and moments of sheer terror shape their lives. His people leap off the pages and we’re there to share in their daily quests for food, shelter and safety.

The overall messages of “AN ELEPHANT in the GARDEN” are of courage, resilience, friendship and hope…its readership transcends any specific age category…it’s PURE MAGIC!

BUDDHA, ASIAN and the WRITTEN WORD

MY LIFE IN 6 WORDS: Let the past make you better...

Buddha was a philosopher, spiritual teacher and religious leader who lived in ancient India 2,600 years ago. Not a God, he’s revered as the founder of the world religion of Buddhism. Buddha is not a name…his name was Siddhartha Gautama. Buddha is a title. It’s a Sanscrit word that means “a person who is awake.” Awake to what…the true nature of reality, freed from the “fog” of hate, greed and ignorance. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all work towards being free of that fog?

This week, SUNDAY POSTCARD ART (sundaypostcardaart.wordpress.com) honors Buddha by making him it’s theme. Here’s my tribute to the man and the practice of Buddhism that I so greatly admire.

Buddha is also revered in many Asian countries. This week, challenge blog TAKE A WORD (takeaword.blogspot.com) has declared it’s theme to be ASIAN. I could use Buddha to satisfy this theme, but chose to do this instead…

Inspired by a man I saw in a restaurant, in a small town in China…
… and this is a young monk we saw while visiting a monastery in Myanmar.

THE THREE MUSES (thethreemuseschallenge.blogspot.com) chose THE WRITTEN WORD as their theme for the week.

That’s it for now…wishing you a week that may start you on your path towards “enlightenment” …or help you continue your pursuit…and always, wishing you good health.

Big Hugs,

abbyj

SHATTERED… CONVERSATIONS

MY LIFE IN 6 WORDS: Working out again…back in shape!

Hi Folks, I hope this posting finds you well and enjoying the season as best you can. I’m still staying pretty close to home, however I do spend some time working out to try to get back in shape as well as visiting with friends on a limited basis. Life is beginning to open up, but we’re still being very cautious. I pray you are as well.

This week I participated in two online art challenges. It’s so enjoyable to create something from nothing…I do love the process of building a digital art piece. For SUNDAY POSTCARD ART, (sundaypostcardart.wordpress.com) the theme was CONVERSATIONS. I enjoyed this theme so much I created two pieces…

… and for DIGITAL WHISPER, (digitalwhisper.blogspot.com) the theme was SHATTERED. My art is reminiscent of some time we spent in one of Morocco’s fabulous marketplaces…it’s crazy busy with people as well as animals…all feelings of having a peaceful saunter-SHATTERED! So many things to assault the senses…so much excitement and interest. This piece reminds me how visitors and residents alike need to be aware of their surroundings.

Wishing you the best in the week ahead. Stay safe and wear a smile under your mask!

See you next posting…

Big Hugs, abbyj

ARTFUL READERS CLUB “WENCH” by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Here’s MY cover for this book…different from the book’s real cover.

THIS cover tells you, immediately, the theme and genre of “WENCH…” historical fiction about our pre-Civil War period…a period that history books cover only so far. It takes place, primarily, at an American resort in Ohio…a northern state where our protagonists, who are slaves, come into contact with black men and women who are free. Zoom in on Lizzie, a slave on Nathan Drayle’s Tennessee plantation in the south, where slavery was a given. Through her eyes, the author brings to life a little-known piece of American history: the fact that white slave owners not only kept black women as sex slaves, (something we already knew,) but that they also elevated them in a way that sometimes surpassed the roles of their own white wives, traveling with them each summer to a vacation resort near Xenia, Ohio…a real place…Tawawa House…(a place that eventually became part of the Underground Railroad network,) where they could have some private time away from judging eyes.

It’s the story of four slave mistresses…”wenches,” who become friends at Tawawa House. They contemplate freedom, learn each other’s stories and deepest fears. The relationship described between the slave masters and slave women is one that’s barely been explored in other writings. Perkins-Valdez shows the different ways a woman’s life in these circumstances could have looked, while showing the undeniable cruelty involved in any iteration of this system of human bondage. I marveled at the power, strength and courage of these women and was grateful for the safe haven they found in true friendship.

What I found painfully profound was that these women vacationed in a free state, yet boarded the coach back to their enslaved southern states each summer. The love for their families, children and other slaves back home outweighed their temptation for freedom just beyond the resorts boundaries.

This book is not romantic (even though Lizzie shared a bed with her master each summer and they behaved, openly, as a couple,) nor is it preachy… it’s just a true picture of what was. “WENCH” scrubbed away all my whitewashed history lessons and brought me face to face with the wrenching complexities that constituted slave life…your child is not your own and can be taken from you at any time with no explanation or recourse. Your body and your life are not your own. “WENCH” challenged me to think deeply about this uncomfortable topic and those four women will stay with me for quite a while. If you have an interest in this topic, Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s “WENCH” is a wonderfully modern twist on the historical novel.

TRAVEL and TEARS

MY LIFE IN 6 WORDS: I wear a smile…good life!

Hi Dear Ones, It’s almost the weekend , RELAX time…not that my life is particularly hectic. But, I’ve started working out again and am thrilled to be slowly creeping out of my bubble. Hard to imagine it’s August already and summer fun here in New York is just beginning. Mask wearing and hand washing is still a must for those of us who are responsible members of our communities…no big deal and the right thing to do. It’s still hard to think that Michael and I are considered ELDERLY, but it’s a fact…and we need to be extra careful! Creating art, listening to music and reading good books help to ease concerns.

For example, I participated in two fun art challenges for this week: TAKE A WORD (takeaword.blogspot.com) set their theme to be TRAVEL. With an aching heart at not being permitted to visit my dear friends (families) in Ethiopia, I created this piece…

and for DIGITAL WHISPER (digitalwhisper.blogspot.com,) the theme is TEARS…appropriate for my feelings of missing dear ones both far and near. We haven’t seen our daughter and grandkids since January (except on FaceTime.) Here’s my TEARS…

Stay safe, dear ones. Hope to see you for my next posting.

Big Hugs, abbyj

SUNDAY POSTCARD ART: Night Sky

MY LIFE IN 6 WORDS: Making wishes on the night sky…

Through the inky night

A peaceful, star-filled, dark sky

Envelops my heart

For this week, Sunday Postcard Art (sundaypostcardart.wordpress.com) has asked artists to create a piece with the night sky in mind. This gave me the opportunity to recall when my husband and I traveled far up in northern Canada to experience the Aurora Borealis. We looked out of our window and saw a lone polar bear climbing in and out of a beached boat. What a great sight…

My other image was a memory of the fun I used to have as a camper, hiding behind trees in the woods. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to be out by myself so late at night…but I could always imagine how it would be!

Enjoy the coming week…please continue to stay safe.

Big Hugs, abbyj

Artist, Lee McKenna DIGITALMANIA

MY LIFE IN 6 WORDS: Collages embrace many moments in time…

Australian artist LEE McKENNA loves to create collages. To her, they’re like found paper treasures embracing “imperfections of old, used , discarded and damaged papers…papers that depict moments in time, often bearing marks and traces of a past life and the human hand.” DIGITALMANIA (https://www.flicker.com/groups/digitalmania) art challenge group has introduced us to Lee…to inspire us to create in her style. Here are a couple of her creations…

and here are mine…

That’s it for now…please continue to stay safe.

Hugs until my next,

abbyj