On Living

kid in rain bootsAn italicized passage in Bee’s science book. She and I are weighted under a shared blanket, two dogs snoring at our feet when we read it. Dolania americana has the shortest lifespan of any mayfly: the adult females of the species live for less than five minutes. Is that true? she asks me with wide Source: http://ift.tt/1HLbZXN

Returning to Oil: On Beyond Zebra

by Brenda W. Clough

If there’s anything I’ve learned from being creative, it’s that you don’t just stay here. Like in the song, you move on — beyond the photo, beyond the plot, through to something new.Something of your own! What you write is not necessarily all that is there, and what you paint is not necessarily what you see.

So! Like the Art Garfunkel song says, reality is not for me. Here is a run at carrying it on — beyond green, beyond mere representational landscape. One of the things with oils is that you can set the tone by blocking out the work with a color. Burnt sienna is the traditional hue for this, and I used it for the 1.0 version. In this 3.0 version, I used alizarin crimson.

I’ve tinkered with the proportions, losing chunks of the original photograph (which you may view once more at the bottom of this post). I also completely shed the option of green. I like the dark moody lower foreground of the work, and the sky. I waved the artist wand and lost all the slow water and greenish pond scum to insert some actual river. But, what is this with the alizarin crimson of the trees? Pinkish is what you get when you mix white, and yellow, with alizarin. It is boring. Especially over here in the upper right corner, something must be done. That something is going to involve cadmium red, which I have to go buy a tube of. Except, wow! cadmium red is $31 a tube! Maybe I will buy a cheaper red.

Is red the right direction to go? Maybe I should do a 4.0 using blue as the base color? Actually I think that -purple- would be best, and luckily if you mix ultramarine blue with cadmium red you do get purple. Mysteriously this does not happen if you mix ultramarine with alizarin — you get the murkiness in the lower left. Must work on it some more. I am going to repaint all the pinkish bit in the middle instance, and fortunately oil allows you to do that. Maybe some green will sneak in again after all. Should the undifferentiated mass of the foreground be broken up a little? Perhaps with some reflected sky? This is not done yet, folks. Hold on to your hats!

 

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Returning to Oil: On Beyond Zebra

by Brenda W. Clough

If there’s anything I’ve learned from being creative, it’s that you don’t just stay here. Like in the song, you move on — beyond the photo, beyond the plot, through to something new.Something of your own! What you write is not necessarily all that is there, and what you paint is not necessarily what you see.

So! Like the Art Garfunkel song says, reality is not for me. Here is a run at carrying it on — beyond green, beyond mere representational landscape. One of the things with oils is that you can set the tone by blocking out the work with a color. Burnt sienna is the traditional hue for this, and I used it for the 1.0 version. In this 3.0 version, I used alizarin crimson.

I’ve tinkered with the proportions, losing chunks of the original photograph (which you may view once more at the bottom of this post). I also completely shed the option of green. I like the dark moody lower foreground of the work, and the sky. I waved the artist wand and lost all the slow water and greenish pond scum to insert some actual river. But, what is this with the alizarin crimson of the trees? Pinkish is what you get when you mix white, and yellow, with alizarin. It is boring. Especially over here in the upper right corner, something must be done. That something is going to involve cadmium red, which I have to go buy a tube of. Except, wow! cadmium red is $31 a tube! Maybe I will buy a cheaper red.

Is red the right direction to go? Maybe I should do a 4.0 using blue as the base color? Actually I think that -purple- would be best, and luckily if you mix ultramarine blue with cadmium red you do get purple. Mysteriously this does not happen if you mix ultramarine with alizarin — you get the murkiness in the lower left. Must work on it some more. I am going to repaint all the pinkish bit in the middle instance, and fortunately oil allows you to do that. Maybe some green will sneak in again after all. Should the undifferentiated mass of the foreground be broken up a little? Perhaps with some reflected sky? This is not done yet, folks. Hold on to your hats!

 

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Returning to Oil: On Beyond Zebra

by Brenda W. Clough

If there’s anything I’ve learned from being creative, it’s that you don’t just stay here. Like in the song, you move on — beyond the photo, beyond the plot, through to something new.Something of your own! What you write is not necessarily all that is there, and what you paint is not necessarily what you see.

So! Like the Art Garfunkel song says, reality is not for me. Here is a run at carrying it on — beyond green, beyond mere representational landscape. One of the things with oils is that you can set the tone by blocking out the work with a color. Burnt sienna is the traditional hue for this, and I used it for the 1.0 version. In this 3.0 version, I used alizarin crimson.

I’ve tinkered with the proportions, losing chunks of the original photograph (which you may view once more at the bottom of this post). I also completely shed the option of green. I like the dark moody lower foreground of the work, and the sky. I waved the artist wand and lost all the slow water and greenish pond scum to insert some actual river. But, what is this with the alizarin crimson of the trees? Pinkish is what you get when you mix white, and yellow, with alizarin. It is boring. Especially over here in the upper right corner, something must be done. That something is going to involve cadmium red, which I have to go buy a tube of. Except, wow! cadmium red is $31 a tube! Maybe I will buy a cheaper red.

Is red the right direction to go? Maybe I should do a 4.0 using blue as the base color? Actually I think that -purple- would be best, and luckily if you mix ultramarine blue with cadmium red you do get purple. Mysteriously this does not happen if you mix ultramarine with alizarin — you get the murkiness in the lower left. Must work on it some more. I am going to repaint all the pinkish bit in the middle instance, and fortunately oil allows you to do that. Maybe some green will sneak in again after all. Should the undifferentiated mass of the foreground be broken up a little? Perhaps with some reflected sky? This is not done yet, folks. Hold on to your hats!

 

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Love Quote of the Day

Love Quote of the Day: “First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity.” – George Bernard Shaw “First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity.”

In Troubled Times: Bystander Intervention Training

In January 2018, I attended a seminar entitled Stand! Speak! Act! A Community Bystander Intervention Training. The subheading suggested I would learn how to nonviolently support someone who was being harassed. The event was presented by the local chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), the Muslim Solidarity Group, and the local rapid response team. The idea of becoming a nonviolent ally in directly ameliorating the harm from harassment greatly appealed to me. I found the seminar enlightening, although not always in ways I expected.

To begin with, although two of the event’s three sponsors were specifically Muslim solidarity groups, the techniques and strategies apply whenever a person is being targeted. Although hate crimes against Muslims have increased drastically (first after 9/11 and then ongoing since the last presidential election), racism (anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-Asian) still accounts for the majority of incidents, and anti-LGBTQ violence continues. Most of my friends and relatives who have been harassed have been targeted because of race, sexual orientation, or gender identification, but by far the greatest number have been because of race. The principles of intervention remain the same, and if in the future some other group becomes a target for extremism and violence, allies will step forward.

The workshop drew its guidance and inspiration from the principles set out by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

  • Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people
  • Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding
  • Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people
  • Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform
  • Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate
  • Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

It’s tempting to lash out when you or someone you observe is a target of violence, whether physical or verbal. We’ve all seen enough superhero movies to want to jump in, swirling our capes, and single-handedly take on the offender. Outrage at what we perceive to be hateful and wrong fuels our adrenaline. It’s hard to remain calm, to think clearly, and to act from principle instead of reactive emotion. That’s why practice is so important. Harassment can escalate very quickly, and unless we have some experience in how we are vulnerable to engagement, we can become swept up in the confrontation.

Bystander intervention isn’t about confronting the person spewing hatred, it’s about supporting the person being targeted.

The best way to do this is through de-escalation, but in a way that respects the needs and wishes of the targeted person. This means, firstly, not engaging with the attacker: not making eye contact, not responding to their words, not contributing to the drama in any way. It can also mean including other witnesses; one person can video the incident (using their phone, with or without the ACLU app that sends the video directly to them*) or call appropriate help (ambulance, paramedics).

Intervention at its best empowers the person being harassed. (That’s why the workshop avoided referring to them as “victims.”) The principles encourage us as bystanders to approach that person calmly, introduce ourselves, explain that we saw what was happening and we want to offer support. This can mean proposing courses of action like “Would you like me to sit with you?” or “What can I do to help you?” or “Shall we walk together in the other direction?” Or it might mean striking up a friendly conversation that excludes the attacker, like “The weather’s been lovely, hasn’t it?”

The targeted person may not want to interact with us, or may say they’re fine, and as difficult as it is, we should remember the goal is solidarity not rescue.

In practicing various scenarios, I was amazed at my own emotional reaction even though I knew it was an exercise.  We split into groups and acted out various situations (a woman in hijab being harassed on a bus, a black person being insulted by someone driving by, a Spanish speaking person being threatened in a language not understood). Tempers flared, and the person playing the target often felt fearful. That happened to me when I was portraying a Spanish-speaking person in a line at a store. Even though I understood the English verbal attacks (based on perceived immigration status), I felt confused, frightened, and trapped. All I wanted was to escape. The participants playing bystanders bunched together to make what felt like a wall of hostiles, even though they were supposed to be portraying allies. Then one approached me from the side, made sure I noticed her, and gently said, “Hola.” I was amazed at how my body relaxed. I engaged with her, feeling I was safe, then asked her to help me leave the store. How much more terrifying must it be when it’s not a practice scenario!

The final caveat was that no one should feel obligated to intervene if they don’t feel it is safe to do so. Emotions can run high in harassment situations, and matters can escalate very quickly. Always trust your instincts. Even if you aren’t able to act at the moment, approaching the targeted person with support and help after the danger has passed can do much to minimize the harm.

 

*The ACLU’s Mobile Justice app is available in California and other states.

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BVC Announces Trickster’s Dance by Irene Radford

Trickster's Dance by Irene RadfordTrickster’s Dance
Trance Dancer: Book 1
by Irene Radford

Devastating floods allow new Utopias to rise in isolated villages. But change, stability, and the loss of a charismatic leader leads to a crumbling of ideals. How long can a young girl thrust into the role of shaman hold together an ideal society?

The axis of the Earth changed its tilt. All the glacial and polar ice melted. Humanity was reduced to a tiny fraction of the once teeming masses.

The concussion that robbed Gabby of her memories of the Before times opened her to trance visions through dance. She dances herself to exhaustion to learn Truth. She dances to banish evil spirits, Death, and illness.

But Gabby is too young for the role of Shaman, too untrained. When strangers bring new ideas and change, she’s unable to prevent Utopia’s harmony and cooperation from cracking. Violence spreads.
The dance that gives Gabby much wisdom does not tell her how to find a murderer or how to stop a war.

The man she hopes to marry sees no options but to fight. The stranger who touched her heart in a vision must abandon her and Utopia for a greater cause.

Saving all that she loves she must do on her own.

REVIEWS:

“Radford’s considerable gifts as a mesmerizing storyteller shine with undeniable luster.” –RT Book Reviews

This action-packed plot makes for engaged and thoughtful reading.” –Kliatt

Download an Ebook Sample:

EPUB MOBI

Buy Trickster’s Dance at BVC Ebookstore

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