The Spark

Golden River -Three Dimensional Wall Art

I know. I know. I should use an image that denotes at least some kind of spark. I don’t have any of my own – images that is. However, I do have lots of sparks.

Hey, even writing this provides a neuronal synaptic firing – I’ll take it because we are bio-electric beings…

There has to be an action potential (and yes that is a scientific reality) for anything to happen in or bodies and our brains. Brains first, then hopefully body will follow.

When I was taking Anatomy and Physiology, our professor was a very dedicated teacher intent on distilling his immense amount of knowledge into something we could understand and absorb. At the end of the year, my lab partners (yes, oh please, we did have to do dissection) the idea sparked that we should present him with a painting. One of my paintings, of course, since my class mates were not artists. I remember creating this beautiful synapse (well, actually the synapse is only a space between cells, so it wasn’t a painting about space). The painting was a neuron with it attendant structures, dendrites, axons – all those good things which enable us to live. It turned out beautiful but specific. He loved it.

No one, other than a doctor or scientist would be likely to hang a painting of a neuron on their wall, and I don’t know if he ever did hang it. Maybe he donated it to the Mutter Museum…

The point is – oh no… The point is that I lost track of where I was going with this. Too many neurons firing at once.

But this is an important blog so I’m going to come back and complete my thoughts along with the title of an important book about the bio-electric body (not written by me, thankfully).

Abdication of Creativity by Women with Talent

Edward VIII, later Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India, from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December of that year.

Why do women abdicate their creativity? And to whom or what do they abdicate. 

In my lexicon, abdicate means to give away. To give away something that is a right, something that holds great promise or recompense.

In the example above, abdication became a world news event.

In women’s lives, abdication is hardly in the same category. 


This post will continue as I research peer-reviewed journals to approximate an answer.  I say “approximate” because I don’t think I will ever reach the real answer.

Found Phenomenon

I found it.

The title of the work is Phenomenon and this is the story behind the painting.

My work as an artist began seriously when I became a custom design artist. This means I would design and paint large scale artwork for private individuals. Whatever they wanted to have on the walls of their homes, and sometimes offices, I would create. It was commissioned art work.

This painting was not commissioned, it was one I just felt like painting. Since the canvas was large and the weather was nice, I was working outside. There was no plan for the painting other than using left over paint from another work.

The weather on this day was nice, but it was windy. I had just laid down a heavy layer of gray paint and left it to dry in the sun (another reason I like to work outside). The painting was on the grass, close to a gravel driveway and the wind decided to pick it up and then deposit it face down on the gravel.

When I lifted it up there were pieces of gravel stuck to the paint – so I left them there and kept painting. It came to me that the painting was taking the shape of a mountain avalanche during a storm with black lightning and snow so I let it happen.

When it was finished I added some touches of gold and probably some glitter and presented it as a gift to a Dutch friend of mine, Petra. It seemed to belong in their Collingswood home.

Years later when they were selling the house, they had difficulty getting the painting down from the staircase wall where they had hung it. I said to let the new owner of the house have the painting.

I didn’t even know the person and I liked the painting. Why did I give it up?

The Short Story

phenommen borealis

I was determined to finish just one piece of writing…

Since I seem to be in love with the ellipsis, perhaps one day, possibly maybe, not sure, I will quit using them so much.

I am obsessed with leaving things open, for information to be added, to change directions, in other words I like things to be in flux. I’m not even sure that is how an ellipsis is supposed to be used. I’m under the impression that it means the sentence is not complete and you, the reader can add your own thoughts.

The image above is an example of this. The original painting hangs in a professor’s home in Collingswood and yet I didn’t give it to him or sell it to him. It was acquired by him.

Somewhere I have the original digital image of this artwork, which I really liked and I would like to tell you how the piece “happened”. But, since I’m trying to stay in one place long enough to this entry completed, I will search for it another day.

For years I have written magazine articles (and yes, in order to be published they had to be finished – editors are funny about that), lengthy graduate discussion posts and a couple theses here and there. I did even manage to complete one novel and received encouraging feedback from a publisher. But, did I listen to the advice? No. So the novel, only 55,000 words sits in various locations on one of my several computers.

In speaking about completing something, let me add that I did complete my journey as a psychiatric rehabilitation counselor this year. Completion in this case means I voluntarily ended my employment.

It was such odd timing for me to decide that. I had enrolled in a short story class at Rowan College of South Jersey under the direction of professor, Lori Joyce. I barely made even the extended enrollment period because I was still working and didn’t know if I had the energy to do both.

Guess what? I want to quit writing this blog. Why? Because I feel it is rambling off in all sorts of directions and needs to be ended.

My rationale for quitting is that I think blogs should be short. How short? I don’t know. So, until I find out what the acceptable word count is for a blog. I’m done for now.

Encouragement as an artist – fiction or non-fiction?

“You ARE an Artist”

“I can’t lay claim to being an artist,” the woman said with a soft, but clearly challenging tone in her voice, and for a moment I felt defensive about stating so unequivocally, “I am an artist.”

The woman wasn’t a program director for an art school or even an art gallery. I was interviewing as a counselor in a psychiatric facility and she was the gatekeeper to employment.  When she had given me the tour of the offices and various meeting rooms,  I noticed several, large, original paintings with very distinctive styles and had remarked how beautiful they were and how necessary I felt they were to the recovery environment.

If I had concluded my appraisal of the artwork rather than adding, “I’m an artist”, her response would never have been uttered and I would not be writing about this.

I am considering a book of encouragement for artists, mostly artists who create paintings, or sketches or drawings, but it can be for anyone who “feels” they are an artist.  Artistic creation is such a wide spectrum of production that it’s not limited to let’s say flat (two dimensional) surfaces.

The proposal, which is necessary if you want to submit your ideas to any agent, is partly finished and yet I am wondering how beneficial another book on creativity might be to anyone other than me, the writer?

Will I be putting forth something that is non-fiction, meaning, for many people “real” or will it be a fiction that is only mildly entertaining?





Creativity or Psychology?

Woman in a feathered hat.  OK.  Is there some absorbing reason why the artist, in this case, me, decided to paint a woman who is disconnected to the rest of her body and seems to be pondering something elusive?

I suppose there might be, but for the most part, as an artist, I doodle, draw, sketch, color and eventually paint just because it feels right.  I like the colors I’m working with or the softness of the pencil lead or even something so prosaic as opening a new box of Crayola crayons.  Nothing more.

Many years ago I considered getting my master’s in art therapy.  The prohibitive expense at that time ($50,000.00 – probably more now) changed my mind and I’m more conservatively working on my master’s of science in psychology.  And though I have not taken the path of academic investigation into creativity, I still like to blend a little psychology with a little art and see what comes out of the mix.

In a continuing post I will mention a few glittering stars in the field of creativity research, so until then, don’t over analyze anything, take each urge to doodle or draw or sketch as simply what it is – your creativity seeking expression.




Threads of creativity

good stylized flowers

The thread of creativity may be gold or silver but that thread is very thin and fragile unless woven together with stronger threads to support it. The question is – what are those necessary stronger threads and where do you as a creative individual find them.

Then, once you’ve found them – how do you use them?

Seedling Website

Sunflower seedling

Possibly/probably in 72 hours New Jersey will be in the middle of our first snowstorm – kind of ironic to post a seedling as my featured image, but there’s a reason.

Last year, this little seed made its way to break through the tough soil of my untended garden to become a sunflower, actually one of many sunflowers since the seeds fell out of my birdfeeder.  I didn’t intend to plant sunflowers  although I love Van Gogh’s approach to them and I admire those big sunny faces in other peoples’ gardens.

My own accidental sunflowers never achieved the typical sunflower “look”.  They were small and didn’t produce a lot of seeds like a real sunflower should.  Nonetheless I was thrilled that I had grown sunflowers.  It was a first in my life and it was a good first.

I made bouquets and gave them to just about anyone who wasn’t allergic to flowers, I invited a little boy from next door to come and see them as they grew and I even started to write a story about them.   Not bad from a little seedling.

The point is that I’ve never had a serious website before.  Oh sure, I took arduous courses in building websites at a community college (Dreamweaver) and did manage to produce an eleven page, sprawling and chaotic website for my art, but I wasn’t getting it.  Now, like my little seedling that pushed through tough soil, I’m trying to push through my resistance to create another website, one that I hope will be useful to me and to others who may visit it.

So, I’m thinking – maybe my next featured image will be photos of last summer’s  sunflowers and who knows, maybe that imagery will also represent a published website.










Billiards and the Pythagorean Theorem

I ran across this after reading about sacred geometry. In addition to this more mathematical consideration, it has been stated that Pythagoreans also spoke positive words before embarking on a journey. Again, the question, what goes through the minds of serious pool players when they are shooting?


Applying the Pythagorean theorem to billiards gives some practical advice on how to aim.

Suppose you have a stationary ball that you’re going to strike with the cue ball.

The cue ball is about to strike!

Conservation of momentum requires that “before” and “after” momenta add up to make a triangle, like this:

The "after" momenta sum to the "before" momentum.

Billiard balls are very hard, and at slow speeds their collisions are nearly elastic. That means kinetic energy is also conserved, requiring

$latex frac{|textrm{after}_1|^2}{2m} + frac{|textrm{after}_2|^2}{2m} = frac{|textrm{before}|^2}{2m} &s=1$

or canceling the factors of $latex 2m$,

$latex |textrm{after}_1|^2 + |textrm{after}_2|^2 = |textrm{before}|^2 &s=1$.

That’s the Pythagorean theorem. It says that the triangle of momentum vectors we drew must be a right triangle. When the billiards balls collide, they must go off on trajectories that make a right angle. The specific angle they go is determined by where the balls hit, since the contact force is normal to the edge of the ball.

The "after" momenta form a right angle.

The magnitudes…

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Music that Evokes Emotion by Pat Baer

This is the first and possibly only music review I will ever write, simply because it’s not something I do on a regular basis.  However,  this music needs to be heard and felt, so I’m putting this review of one track entitled “Peace or Greed” for anyone who wants to read it.


In the recently reviewed single, Make the Best of It, by Pat Baer, from the CD of the same name, James McQuiston calls the vocals hopeful and sunny as they encourage listeners to make the best of the situation, stand up for what is right and cope with things in the best way they know how.

In an emotional 180 degree turn, Peace or Greed, the 6th cut, with haunting vocals straight from the heart, asks you to think about war, question unspoken values and most of all begs you not forget.

Each intro on this CD leads you fully into each song, and Peace of Greed, is no exception to that transcendent musical alchemy. The instrumentation, making full use of horns, reminiscent of Aaron Copeland’s Americana works, places you on a cold winter’s day, at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington.

The emotional energy of the vocals works magically with the music so that you not only hear, but feel the story in a powerful way. It’s no wonder that since its release, Peace or Greed, has travelled the airwaves internationally, attracting fans and loyal followers. The song moves the listener to think, something that’s hard to accomplish these days in any media.

The smooth but insistent repetition of the refrain blends perfectly with the instrumentation to lay down a track in your mind. You are literally there as you listen, you feel the cold wind blow across the snow and you hear the echoes of the names on the monument beneath the sky.

War touches everyone and Peace or Greed reminds us gently, but with evocative power not to forget.