imagination

Appreciation is Contagious. Better Catch It. by Mary Jennings

Loving The Rain! I posted a status on my FB account this morning.  I had to.  I couldn’t help it.  I really wanted to share the amazing delight I was feeling at that very moment.  I just knew that others would enjoy what I was experiencing.  Finding the right words to express my moment were also part of the fun.

It got quite a few likes, but it also made me think about how fortunate I felt to be experiencing something so simple and so impossible for me to create by my own hand or skill.  I was wholly appreciative.  I have noticed some other grateful updates being posted by some of my other friends on some other social media sites.

A young photographer friend was prompting people to make sure to take time to stop and notice the beautiful sunrise and sunsets we are blessed with daily.  Such wise advice for such a young girl.  She might have been preaching to the choir, though.  I have seen an increase in stunning sky photos on FB and Instagram with people doing just that; looking up.  Vacation will have that effect on you.  I’ve enjoyed looking at and clicking like on every last post I’m fortunate enough to encounter.

Beauty Discovered

I also love that I have several artist friends who are able to see the beauty in some not so expectedly beautiful things and are generous enough to share their discoveries (and be thankful on top of that).  This was posted by a friend and former Moore College of Art classmate who made my day with her midnight snack.

So, all of this is to say, look up, stand still, soak in and share.  Appreciation is contagious; better catch it and share.  It might just also be the cure for all that ails.

Experiencing Observation: Gratitude by Mary Jennings

"Discovery"

36"x36" oil on canvas. SOLD I didn't doubt that I would make it to this sixth installment of my blog series on experiencing observation, but I didn't actually lightheartedly skip along the pathway either.  It can be told that I have loved writing about all the subtle differences in observation.  Who knew that looking around could be so distinctive depending on a certain mindset?  I'm not sure I even appreciated this until I began to write about it.

So far, I have covered getting caught, making memories, being restored, hunting, capturing and now I am going to write about experiencing observation through the lens of gratitude.  With a mindset of thankfulness, what you see is not simply what it is.  It becomes greater in its substance due to the context in which it is being viewed.

A sunset, with its color, movement and mood, has a pretty good jump-start in being receptive to gratitude filled observations.  Not everything has it this easy.  With some things like a pile of unfolded laundry, a flat tire, an icy walkway, or a bad hair day, it takes a little bit of work getting a fruitful observation experience with a mindset of gratitude.  And because of this struggle, it is so very rewarding when you do see what others may not see.  This is a highly creative experience.  This is the stuff great poetry is made of.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered."  I agree.  We are given so many wonderful "weeds" in life and we try to eliminate, hide and sometimes ignore them and their virtues.  In the spring of 2009, I did a video with a focus on inspiration and determination using the dandelion to support my message.  It is extremely consistent with the message I offer many times to this day.  It was nice to see I am staying on track to help inspire and encourage creativity.

httpv://youtu.be/u_cUu8YIZEw

Watch it and see how I demonstrate how rich our observations become with a heart of gratitude.  Gratitude is a great place to take NOTHING and turn it in to a treasure.

Turn that frown upside down.  Turn that trouble into triumph.  Celebrate your creativity by seeing things that are good, helpful and productive from what we would avoid finding any beauty in at all.  With a mindset of gratitude, experience observation where treasures can be found in trash.

Share any observations you have made in the comment section below.  We want to see what you see.

Do I Even Need That Banana Slicer Thingy? by Mary Jennings

IMG_3252

 

This isn't just another wORKSHOP wEDNESDAY post, this is a bit of my WAR against clutter.

IMG_3248

 

This isn't just another wORKSHOP wEDNESDAY post, this is a bit of my WAR against clutter.  Clutter is one of the small reasons I am in the beginning stages of launching a career in Stand-up comedy.  The clean up is so much easier with the creation of comedy.  You have a composition book of jokes and a rolled up brick wall for shows.

 

IMG_3249

Listen, as much as I love the perfectly useful tool, I think there might just be a limit to needing every tool designed for every job.  What kind of creative person would be if I couldn't figure out how to SLICE A BANANA without the aid of the ever popular Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer?  Although, I must say, I was truly temped to join this cult-like band of consumers after reading the creative customer reviews on Amazon.  (http://www.amazon.com/Hutzler-5717-571-Banana-Slicer/dp/B0047E0EII)  Check them out, they are really fun and creative.

IMG_3250

The real problem is that, of course, I don't want my banana sliced like everybody's.  I want my bananas cut lengthwise to use on my son's Banana/Nutella sandwich and and the long slices taste better.  Banana buttons are fine for a bowl, but not for a sandwich.  I even by my pickles sliced lengthwise.  It's just better.

IMG_3251

Instead of getting caught up in the Hutzler 571 frenzy, I have decided to slice the banana using my egg slicer.  Today was my first attempt at ever doing this and it was hugely successful.  I already have the egg slicer and am quite good with it.  I even use this tool for strawberries, olives, and even mushrooms.  It's handy.

Here is the EGG SLICER solution.  You should try it.  Note:  Best results are using a firm banana.

IMG_3252         IMG_3253        YUM!!!

If you have any ideas on ways to help my WAR on kitchen tool clutter, share them with me on the comment section.  Make it fun.  Make it YUM!

Experiencing Observation: Restorative by Mary Jennings

Have you ever been in so much pain that you are looking for anything to relieve it?  I have.  I could be referring to physical pain and but there is also emotion pain.  I think there are more remedies for physical pain than there are for pain experienced by the heart and soul.  With physical pain you can pinpoint the cause a bit easier and treat it as recommended.  In this case, I am talking about more of an emotional ache.  I have had times when my heart hurt and I was broken down like a an abandoned ride on the side of the road.  This sounds like lyrics for a Country Music song performed on Dr. Phil. Oil on Canvas by Mary Jennings

I approach these times differently now with some experience under my belt.  There have been times when I have lifted myself up and taken myself OUT of my misery; OUT of my WOE by putting one foot in front of the other in search of relief.  I was overly humbled and looking for a glimpse of encouragement.  I think we tend to hang on to our woe sometimes until we are done with sitting in it.  It’s like poking a bruise to remember it hurts.   I think putting the mental hand out, making the physical steps to receive a new direction for our hearts and heads to go into through this use of observation.

None of this can happen at times like this without a look up, a hand out or a first step.  Take one and the others will follow.

Through this action, the pain turns to a celebration of gratitude.  None of this can happen at times like this without a look up, a hand out or a first step.  Take one and the others will follow.  Great creativity can be born from these low places, but it’s not where I  personally want to dwell.  At this point in my life, it’s nice to recognize these times and turn them around pretty quickly.

"Boasting Promise" Oil on Canvas by Mary Jennings

This is a time when you see the sky in a whole new way.  Images are etched in your mind.  The process of observing people, places and things is restorative.  It’s like that first drink of water after being thirsty for a long time.  You're amazed at how delicious it really is.  If you encounter a time like this, consider it an invitation to go see things.  Average sightings are glorious.  You will look at yourself (sitting in self-pity) in contrast with the tree that has barely one good limb and still manages to boast such promise with a brilliant display of buds on that branch, in the dead of a bitter cold winter.  You can do this.  You can.

I would love to know about any observations you may have made during a time like this.  Leave a comment below or email me to share.  mary@maryjenningsart.com

Feature Friday: My Sketchbook Project 2013 by Mary Jennings

Sketchbook Project 2012 detail

With the great pleasure I took in “releasing” my sketchbook in Jan. 2012 and creating and uploading the accompanying video in March, I have even more delight in knowing that over a thousand people have watched my (almost too long) video.  It was great to be able to show how it was made and the thought process behind all of the art. “Even though art is considered to be representational, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t very abstract messages embedded deep within those familiar images.  Artist’s statements are always very helpful to bring the audience closer to your work.

Sketchbook Project 2012

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32FTHZPtBzk

Preview Sketchbook Project 2013

8+8=16 16+16=32.... No, I am not performing The Inchworm.  I am counting the pages that are in this year’s blank sketchbook.  Thirty-two pages are waiting for me to fill them.  The theme of my book this year is, UPSTAIRS.  You will be a part of the process, just like before with another video on it’s way.  The book has to be completed and shipped January 15, 2013.  So, I better get to work!

Think about me and if you would like, leave an encouraging word for me in the comment section below.

I will be creating a blog specifically on Brooklyn Art Library and The Sketchbook Project 2013 on one of my Spotlight Saturday postings.