Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My New Best Friend.

My New Best Friend

Is it silly of me to be so excited about my new pocket thesaurus?

I know that I can Google for synonyms, but those sites always seem to be filled with pop-ups and well, I just wanted something I could hold in my hand and carry from room to room and use when I'm not on the computer.

I almost bought one online, but ended up picking this one out of about a dozen at Barnes & Noble. I chose this one not just for its portability, but for the "I need bi-focals" factor as well. Many of the other books I found had such eensy weensy print that I had to pass... This one has each entry colored blue and is also in a larger font.

While this link appears to be the same book, (I checked the ISBN) it's showing a hardcover and mine is not. It's not showing on Amazon, so I'm wondering if it's published special for B&N.

And please don't ask me for another word for thesaurus... :o)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Spring Mandala - More painting with fountain pen ink

Happy Spring Mandala!

Ah spring.... I love seeing everything turn from cold and dreary to budding with new life.

This mandala was drawn using a fine nibbed Lamy Safari fountain pen filled with R&K Magenta ink. I drew it on Clairefontaine Ingres/Pastel White Laid Paper (one of my favorites) and then using a Niji waterbrush and a delicate hand, used plain water to draw out the color from the ink. As fountain pen inks are water based, they act like watercolor paints. (Note that some inks are more permanent that others... your results may vary.)

Magenta Mandala - Rohrer & Klingner ink, Lamy Safari fountain pen, Niji Waterbrush

Finally bought a bottle of Rohrer & Klingner's Magenta fountain pen ink from Pear Tree Pens, the only current US retailer for this ink. R&K is a German ink company and of the colors I've sampled, I'm totally in love with their Magenta & Purple. (Solferino) The colors are bright, warm & vibrant and so far, seem to have excellent flow. $12 for a 50ml bottle.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

49 Songs from my Roller Disco Days or 1980-81's The Soundtrack of my Life

Quite possibly one of the worst photos of me...ever.

Perhaps you remember the post I wrote about a year ago about my return to the roller rink of my childhood. The image above was taken sometime around 1980-1981 and this time around, I'd like to talk about the music from that time that stays with me to this day.

I grew up primarily listening to AM radio and Mom's record collection- which at the time included Barry Manilow, The Bee-Gee's, Barbara Streisand, Sonny & Cher, and the soundtracks to Saturday Night Fever and Grease. (Some other time I'll tell you about how I threw out my Dad's old Santana and Jimi Hendrix 8-Tracks because the music scared me... D'oh!)

Around 8th grade, I started to spend an excessive amount of time at the local skating rink courtesy of neighbors who were there 4 days a week. While these days, my iPod is filled with extreme diversity such as heavy metal, ambient, world music, rock, jazz, swing, etc., the music below is what's really in my blood. It's why I can skate, dance, drum & shake the hell out of a shekere. Let me send out a big huge THANK YOU to the rink's DJ (I wish I knew who they were!) who helped create the soundtrack to my life.

I've always held the theory that the music from your early teen years, that time before high school and when things start to get all pubescent & wonky, is the music that stays with you forever.

Let me first preface that I have been working on assembling these songs for YEARS...... Many were only available on 12" EP's and later on compilation tapes. (Which I would later replace with CD's) iTunes helped tremendously to fill in the final missing pieces with the exception of one song which I could never find, (one of my all-time favorites) "On the Beat" by the BB&Q band which I finally found on You Tube - a tinny mono version but a version nonetheless that allowed me to stop thinking it was a figment of my imagination.

These are the ones that I specifically remember skating to. (or at least I think I did.... cut me a break, I'm old.) When one of these songs would come on you'd suck up the last bit of Pepsi from the cup, toss it in the trash and skate like hell to get out on the floor and feel the beat.

Oh heck. I just realized that I don't have a copy of "Always & Forever" or "Superfreak" or "17" or "Double Dutch Bus" arrrrgh!!!! I thought I was done! How could I forget those? iTunes, here I come! (I guess the more time passes, the more I recall though I can't seem to remember what I did 5 minutes ago...)

And so here you go. 49 songs from my roller disco days. There were 50, but I had to cut Michael Jackson's "Wanna be Startin' Somthing" because that came later.

Ai No Corrida Quincy Jones
Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now McFadden & Whitehead
And the Beat Goes On The Whispers
Apache The Sugar Hill Gang
Boogie Oogie Oogie A Taste Of Honey
Boogie Wonderland Earth, Wind & Fire with The Emotions
Brick House Commodores
Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me) The Gap Band
Celebration Kool & The Gang
Circles Atlantic Starr
Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) Chic
December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night) Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Disco Inferno The Trammps
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough Micheal Jackson
Donna Summer - Bad Girls Donna Summer
Early In The Morning (12" Version) The Gap Band
Fantastic Voyage Lakeside
Forget Me Nots (12" Version) Patrice Rushen
Get Down On It Kool & The Gang
Got to Be Real Cheryl Lynn
The Hustle Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony
I'll Be Around The Spinners
I Got My Mind Made Up Instant Funk
I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor
Instant Replay Dan Hartman
It's a Love Thing The Whispers
Knock On Wood Mary Griffin
Ladies Night Kool & The Gang
Let's Groove Earth, Wind & Fire
Let's Start the Dance Bohannon
Mama Used to Say Junior
Never Can Say Goodbye Gloria Gaynor
Off the Wall Michael Jackson
On the Beat BB&Q Band
Que Sera Mi Vida Gibson Brothers
Rapper's Delight (Long Version) The Sugar Hill Gang
Rock The Boat Hues Corporation
Rock With You Michael Jackson
September Earth, Wind & Fire
She's a Bad Mama Jama (She's Built, She's Stacked) Carl Carlton
Stomp! The Brothers Johnson
Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It) Kool & The Gang
Take Your Time (Do It Right) The S.O.S. Band
Too Hot Kool & The Gang
TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) MFSB/The Three Degrees
Vertigo / Relight My Fire Dan Hartman
Working My Way Back To You Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
You Dropped A Bomb On Me The Gap Band
8th Wonder The Sugar Hill Gang

Note: There of course were a few quintessential disco songs such as Chic's "Le Freak" and Lipps Inc's "Funkytown" that I really didn't care for which is why they don't live on my iPod.

Please enjoy.

FYI - Amazon often has music (MP3's) cheaper than iTunes. I'll give you one to get you started.

Mandala: Center of Bloom

Mandala: Center of Bloom

You know it's funny, but though I've created over 1,000 mandalas in the last 3 years, I don't color many of them in.

There are two main ways I create them. Either by using a single colored pen or marker on paper, or by putting watercolor on paper and then coming back and creating a mandala over top of the painting. I think I do it this way because I kind of like doing the mandala part more than adding color. Coloring them in doesn't seem to hold the same rhythmic pleasure for me and so I think once I finish one, I abandon it in favor of working on another. (It's less about art for me than the meditation of creating it.)

But once in a great while, I get the urge to color one in... It's usually a just little urge because I just don't have the patience to stay with it and so I take an inked piece like the one above, and I will add just enough color to make me happy.

Since I treat this work less about art and more about personal growth, I wonder if there is a part of me that worries about "messing up" if I try and think too much about adding color and making it look "pretty.". But isn't that what I teach in my workshops? That the end result is irrelevant? That it's about the journey rather than the destination? I think once you start to turn a subjective eye on what you create, it can muck up the original intention.

Right now, I think I'm going to go and color one of my mandalas and I'm not even going to TRY and stay within the lines....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mandalas everywhere...

Rhythm Renewal 07 051e

Ever since I started drawing mandalas, I see them everywhere. Car rims, manhole covers, ornamental building designs... This is one of my favorites. It's a wrought iron table that sits on the rear deck of the college dorm where I stay during my yearly summer drumming retreat. I enjoy being out there all alone with a journal and my thoughts. I reflect on the events of the day and imagine what fun there is yet to come... I'm looking forward to seeing it again this coming summer, as it has become much like an old dear friend.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

That hallway needed painting anyway....

This hallway needed painting anyway...

My husband and I have lived in this house (which we own) for just under twenty years. As strange as this might sound, I just never think about carpets or paint or even new furniture.

For the first 21 years of my life I grew up living in apartments. Apartments that got re-painted white once every 5 years and had the same carpets until you moved out. It seemed as though it was just never an option to decorate an apartment so I guess I got to the point where I just don't see the color of the walls any more.

We painted this house when we moved in back in 1991. I know it needs to be painted but I just don't think about it. If you asked me the color of my living room, I'd have to give it some thought though I sit in in every day.. sitting in it right now as I am typing this. Let me quick look.. .oh yeah - it's a light sandy pink.

At least every year or two I go over to Lowe's and pick up some paint chips and tape them to the wall. And eventually the tape gives out and they fall to the floor and then I toss them away.

A while back I asked my husband if he would mind if I painted mandalas on the walls. He said "Go right ahead" and so this was my first - in the hallway that needed to be painted anyway. (I guess the colors of the walls aren't important to him either.

It was my largest mandala to date and my first time using acrylic paints that I bought from the craft store. It's about 3 1/2 ft in diameter and it makes me happy every time I walk past it. So maybe I should paint a few more. After all, all it would take would be a few brush strokes and it would be gone.... though I'd always still know it was there.
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